Meet Locky: Our Newest Cybersecurity Fear

With thousands of cybersecurity threats coming and going each day, people are becoming more and more wary of their online usage patterns.

That isn’t to say that we can’t fight them off. Far from it, as numerous antivirus and anti-malware softwares have been effective in fighting off some of the larger threats over the years. Still, there are always some that refuse to take advantage of these products – leaving themselves vulnerable to attacks from outside sources.

Well, meet Locky: our newest cybersecurity fear.

As if there wasn’t reason enough to be alert while surfing the web or fending off the influx of emails in our inbox, Locky has come from seemingly nowhere to hold your files hostage.

As an unassuming email, Locky disguises itself as a Microsoft Word invoice document, and when opened, encourages the user to enable macros. The malware uses a sophisticated level of encryption – one that doesn’t allow users to identify which files are infected. If users don’t fork over the money to pay for the code within a certain amount of time, the files will be lost forever.

Of course, you could play Russian roulette with your files and hope nothing important gets locked down, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you see an email that looks suspicious, don’t open it.

See this excerpt from Healthcare IT News below:

“The document, when opened, appears garbled. It instructs users to activate macros to make the text readable. Once that happens, the malware executes.”

“’Locky creates a lock screen that displays a timer notifying the user of how much time is left until the ransom must be paid and explains that, although the computer is still usable, the files are encrypted,’ said Kevin Epstein, vice president of the Threat Operations Center at Proofpoint, ‘a cybersecurity company. The user also can’t determine which files are affected.’”

“When the ransom is paid, keys to decrypt the Locky virus are released. But if the ransom isn’t paid, the key will supposedly disappear, and with it the encrypted files.”

Scary, huh?

You can learn more about Locky at healthcareitnews.com/

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