A year ago the Internet saw a rash of malware known as ransomware. This malicious form of cyber attack is known for infecting a computer and encrypting a drive. The victim is then unable to recover their data until paying a ransom to the attacker. Middlebury, like many other institutions was not immune to this form of attack.
A week ago the FBI announced a new variant on a common form of these attacks known as CryptoWall. This form of ransomware is known to have four methods of infecting a computer.
- Phishing: the attacker may lure a victim into downloading an infected attachment through a phishing campaign and thereby compromising the drive on their system.
- Phishing: the attacker lures the victim into clicking on a link to a malicious web site where the victim unknowingly downloads the malicious software onto their system and compromises their drive.
- Infected ad: the attacker posts and infected ad on a website which a user might click thereby causing the download of malicious software.
- Compromised website: the attacker compromises a website so when a user visits the website they unknowingly download malicious software and compromise their system.
According to the FBI, by far the most common method of attack is phishing, particularly with attachments in the message.
What you can do to protect yourself:
- Never open attachments or click links in emails that you do not recognize or trust.
- Know what a phishing attack is and how to spot one. visit http://go.middlebury.edu/phish or http://phishing.org
- If you think you have fallen for a phish change your password. then call x2200
- If you believe you system is compromised, unplug it from the power and the network. Shut it down immediately. Do not worry about saving your work. then call x2200.
- Backup your data routinely. If you save your data to Middfiles or your home directory it will be backed up automatically.
- Never disable your antivirus software.
- Send any suspect emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Only download software from known vendor sites.
- Don’t click on ads in web sites. Visit vendor websites directly.