A New Computer Virus With Serious Implications!

A new virus has been hitting Orange County Architect’s offices with serious consequences. This virus (program) runs on your computer encrypting your files so you cannot read them unless you pay a ‘ransom’ in non traceable funds (bits) for the decryption key. Highly sophisticated, its origin is unknown (countries have been identified), and while the FBI is aware, they have not been able to solve the problem at this time.

In addition to the ransom, there is the cost is the downtime it takes to decrypt the data and the fact that all the computers are not being utilized.

How it gets executed is unknown and constantly changes. Examples in the past are:

  • An email attachment that is actually a “.zip” file that is labeled as a “.pdf” file
  • A link to a fake website (xxx.chase502.xxx/resetpassword_but_it_may_not_be_that_obvious!) which installs malware
  • Main websites being hacked and malware installed on computers without staff knowing it has occurred.

The program has the ability to run nearly invisible on your system. Some key things to look for is high CPU usage, modified files that you cant open, and high network and/or hard drive activity compared to the amount of applications you have operating at that time.

You can take steps to reduce your risk of getting infected, but in the end no one is 100% safe. Some simple steps to minimize risk include:

Use a name brand firewall make sure its configured completely.
Source your email from a major provider, you get what you pay for.
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP. If you are not using two or more backup systems, you are not covered.
Collaborate with proper security precautions; Employee’s vs Owner’s vs Contractors.
Don’t trust anyone online and double check everything.
Work via a server that is frequently backed up to minimize loss

bradley delp | performance consulting | i.t. service & support | 949.275.1222