Millions of Malware-Infected Emails Sent in a Giant Ransomware Campaign

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If you are normally careless when it comes to the emails that you open upon reception, you better think twice. Hackers have sent out millions of emails containing malware with the intention of exploiting your machine.

Researchers have termed this one of the largest email campaigns in the second half of 2017.

The total number of emails sent on August 28th is 23 million and each of these has the Locky malware. United States workers were the priority target as the reported to their workstations.

AppRiver researchers discovered the new campaign. Some of the emails sent included “scans”, “documents” and “please print” as part of a strategy to spread out the Locky ransomware.

The dispatched emails were associated with a ZIP file that had a Visual Basic Script (VBS). Immediately after clicking on the file, the latest version of Locky malware got downloaded. It then encrypts all files on your machine.

Dispatching malware via the email may be a basic method but it’s worth understanding that only a handful of these emails are needed to benefit the hackers. The affected victims are sent a ransom note that they pay 0.5 Bitcoin, an equivalent of $2,300 to get a Locky unlock software.

These attackers provide information on how to download and install the Tor browser as well as steps for purchasing Bitcoin. These are aimed at helping victims make the payment.

It’s unfortunate for the victims since the latest Locky software is yet to be cracked so that free decryption tools are availed.

Locky easily makes it to the list of the most successful ransomware that has risen to dominance in 2016. It has been blamed for series high-class infections. In fact, the tremendous success was so high at one point that Locky was a malware type of its own league.

But that position of malware king has since been taken away from Locky and passed onto Cerber. That shouldn’t misguide you into believing that it is no longer effective.

The most recent resurgence should have made it clear that Locky is as threatening as it was years back. The situation is even worsened by the fact that there is no free decryption tool.

Additionally, Locky has in the past gone dark before re-emerging strongly and proving a malware worth paying attention to. By December last year it seemed to have declined but then came back to life as of January this year.

New tricks continue to be added on the malware in efforts to make it a stronger and easier to spread software. Take caution as you access your email. Do not download files unless you are very sure of the source. Most importantly, install an antivirus.

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