Ransomware is a type of malware that makes your data such as documents and photos unavailable. Usually by scrambling (encrypting) the data so it is unusable. Then, offering to unscramble the data if you pay the ransom. Data recovery is not guaranteed after paying ransom.

Ransomware is usually spread as an email attachment or link to malicious program sent by email that appears to be legitimate organisation or from downloading free apps and games from illegal websites. Upon clicking on the attachment or the link, the malware begins scrambling the data and shows a ransom message upon completion.

What kinds of Ransomware emails can I expect in my inbox?

  • AGL Energy bills
  • Australia Post shipment confirmation
  • Australian Federal Police court subpoena

When should I hear alarm bells?

  • EVERY time you receive an email you were not expecting
  • When you don’t recognise the sending address
  • When the email requests you open a link or an attachment
  • When they are asking for unsolicited information
  • Computer is running slow, unusual pop ups
  • Security and antivirus software alerts

I’m suspicious about an email, what other clues to look for?

  • If it doesn’t address you with your real name e.g. “Dear Customer”
  • The sending address doesn’t look like a legitimate business (e.g. anz@hotmail.com) or contains foreign language as a sending email address
  • The subject line sounds odd, or includes strange punctuation
  • Vague information, not referring to a specific account or product
  • Poor grammar
  • When hovering over links, they don’t point to the legitimate domain for the business e.g. www.anz.freewebs.com (check the official domains of sites you have accounts with)

Best practice:

  • Never click links in emails, always type the website address into your browser
  • Try googling the address or name of the person in the email, if the top results are security discussion/sites, you will want to research further
  • Send it to Junk! Most email programs have the option to ‘Mark email as Spam’ (or Junk) it will be sent to the Junk folder so you won’t see them in your Inbox
  • Never download illegal software or files
  • Ensure you have good antivirus software installed with email protection
  • Do not give out personal information to suspicious email
  • Contact our Helpdesk if you think your computer has been compromised