Many technical and traditional news outlets have been reporting a widespread global outbreak of a new strain of an old ransomware virus that is rapidly spreading. For more information on the specifics see the links below.
What should you do?
1. Immediately notify your staff, friends and family to take extra precautions when looking at emails, and especially opening attachments.
2. Never open an email or an attachment from someone you did not expect to get it from, or in a situation where you did not expect to get an email and/or an attachment.
3. Validate that the sender is who they say they are for anything you didn’t expect, and to be cautious, anything with an attachment. You can do this by hovering over the senders name in newer versions of Outlook. Look carefully at the address, as many hackers will change one letter, add a letter, etc. to make it look the same.
For our customers we have additionally blocked known file types (specifically .rar) to carry this new strain, along with previous file type blocking of exe, zip, etc in email. We recommend anyone else do the same thing to help protect and mitigate the potential effects.
We also recommend business users not allow their employees to use personal email accounts on business devices. These would be outlook.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com, aol.com, etc. These are known to be attacked more, typically have fewer controls and do not have the same spam, antivirus, anti-malware, and blocking rules in place as corporate networks.
Links to information on this ransomware strain: