Fraudsters are sending out a mass of constantly evolving phishing emails to personal and business email addresses that contain ransomware and banking Trojans.
The emails being sent are changing daily with subject headings such as: “Account report”, “Equipment receipts”, “Tax invoice” and “Your account has been closed”. The emails include attachments that people are prompted to open for further information.
These attachments contain malicious content which downloads Locky ransomware, a strain of malware that encrypts and renames all your files on your computer and demands payment, or a Dridex banking Trojan which steals banking credentials and other sensitive information in order to obtain access to your financial records.
Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent you from becoming infected.
Protect yourself with the following actions
- Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication.
- Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
- Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back up to isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
- Don't pay extortion demands as this only feeds into criminals' hands, and there's no guarantee that access to your files will be restored if you do pay.
- If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should immediately contact your bank.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.