Beware of fake emails that take your computer hostage (ransomware)

Once again, dozens of fake emails are in circulation with the potential to cause serious damage, including locking you and your colleagues out of your files.

Consequently, we are asking you to be extra vigilant and to read the tips on Get Safe Online as well as in the A-Z list under ICT Security. This will ensure that you are able to recognise fake emails in time. 

What are the possible consequences of opening a fake email?

Clicking on links or attachments in a fake email may install hostage software (ransomware) on your computer, which can lock your files or your entire computer. You will subsequently be instructed to pay a 'ransom' to unlock your files or your computer. Never respond to such a message! 

What should you do if you opened a fake email and your files have been locked?

Immediately break the network connection and turn off the computer. . Use either a telephone or a different computer to contact the ICT Service Desk at servicedesk-icts@uva.nl.

How can I recognise a fake email? Tips!

The site Get Safe online and the staff website  provide information on how to recognise a fake email. Be especially wary of emails from companies and banks that are sent to your work email account and of emails about outstanding invoices or fines. An invoice in a .ZIP file is always suspicious: invoices and reminders are never sent in this format.

Dozens of fake emails in circulation

The media reported recently that the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament and several municipalities in Noord-Holland had been the victims of a cyber attack involving cryptolocker ransomware. This type of attack results in the encryption of files on your hard drive as well as on external hard drives, USB flash drives and virtual cloud disks. Shared files saved on company networks can be encrypted as well.

Published by  Servicedesk ICTS

4 April 2017