From the desk of the President – Holiday Virus Scam

Just in time for the holidays, the nasty CryptoLocker is rearing its ugly head on computers near you. What is it? It’s a brand of malware, known as “ransomware”. What does it do? It comes in via emails that appear to be from Fedex, UPS, Wells Fargo, American Express and other big name corporations. The emails come with important looking attachments – voicemails, welcome packages, invoices, etc.

How does it work? The attachments are designed to look like important or time sensitive documents, something to make you worry and click on it. Once the attachment is clicked, nothing will appear to happen. However, the virus has already started to encrypt your files, including Office, PDF, AutoCAD, and other open source Office-type software files. When it’s done, and you try to open your files, instead you will receive a “ransom” notice, saying your information is encrypted, and you must pay money to release them. Do not attempt to pay this ransom!

What can you do? First – be aware – do NOT click any links that you aren’t sure about. If you don’t recognize the email, delete it or place in a quarantined folder. Call the sending company and verify if you are supposed to be receiving this information. If not, delete it.

If you have clicked the link by accident, the best thing you can do is immediately disconnect your computer from the internet – turn off wireless or remove the Ethernet cable. This will prevent the
malware from “phoning home” and causing more havoc. The quicker you can respond to the threat, the better chance you have of disabling, removing or avoiding this threat. Click here to see what you can do if you do get infected.

MySherpa has been battling this awful program since early fall – and while we can’t stop the propagators, we can stop it from entering our clients networks. Working with our security vendors, we have developed an in-depth strategy that protects our clients from the desktop to the gateway. We’ve been using a combination of spam filtering, firewall blocking, anti-virus and DNS blocker.

Do yourself a favor and be extra vigilant about your emails – the only way to stop the malware is to not let it on your machine at all. If you have questions or concerns, you can always reach out and contact us.

Happy Holidays,


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