I want to give a little reminder/warning about a new virus that has been going around via email since two people I know have fallen for this email and now have a virus. One of them got a new ransomware virus. First a reminder about detecting spam emails.
- The email is from some one or some website you don’t know or use.
- Email has misspellings, random characters, or wrong information.
- The email uses the first part of your email (everything before the @) to address you in the email.
- The email address is fake or the domain part is real but the username (everything before the @) is fake.
- If the email wants you to go to a link, don’t click it, in some email programs if you mouse over the link it will show you the url. It will probably be some random website.
- Sometimes the email is from someone you do know, but that doesn’t make it safe. When in doubt ask the person who sent you the email if it is actually from them.
- The email is too good to be true. (Winning money, product, service). Or they want you to pay to claim your prize.
- The email is from a service you do use but you are not expecting an email. Every once in a while I receive an email from “amazon.com” saying I bought $2934 worth of books or something like that. The email looks real but I didn’t buy that many books or any books for that matter. Instead of clicking the links on the email go to the site directly and check your account.
- The government does not email you.
- If there are attachments, scan them with a good anti-virus software and anti malware, that is up to date.
Following the advice above and a little bit of care/caution you can keep your computer virus free!
Now, back to the two people who got viruses. The one person had a particularly nasty virus installed on his computer. The virus came through in a email saying he received a voicemail that was attached. You might have received emails that say you have a voice mail or voice message from “WhatsApp Messaging Service”, Administrator, or some other name. I know I have. Following my advice above, it was obvious to me that these were spam messages. The one email was from my own domain but a fake email, first give away, second the information in the email was wrong. But the real give away is I don’t use any service that would email me a voice mail. Email Deleted!
Unfortunately the person who got a nasty virus had a ransomware virus installed on his computer. It encrypted all non operating system files such as .doc, .xls, .jpg, .mp3, etc files. It then asked for $300 in cash to decrypt the files. He had 48 hours to pay. If not, it deleted all his files. At this time there are no ways to decrypt your files, you either have to pay or to be safe reformat your computer and reinstall everything, which would cause you to loose all your files. You can read more about ransomware here.
So take this as a warning and use some extra caution with your emails. It is also a good reminder that you should also keep good backups.