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Rich Fleetwood on Survival & Preparedness - Founded/Established 1997

Warning: Cyber Threat – Recent Reports of DHS-Themed Ransomware

National Cyber Awareness System

Recent Reports of DHS-Themed Ransomware (UPDATE)

Original release date: March 21, 2013 | Last revised: March 22, 2013

US-CERT has received reports of apparently DHS-themed ransomware occurring in the wild. Users who are being targeted by the ransomware  receive an email message claiming that use of their computer has been suspended and that the user must pay a fine to unblock it. The ransomware falsely claims to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland  Security and the National Cyber Security Division.

Users who are infected with the malware should consult with a reputable security expert to assist in removing the malware, or perform a clean reinstallation of their OS after formatting their computer’s hard drive.

US-CERT and DHS encourage users and administrators to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventive measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns that attempt to frighten and deceive a recipient for the purpose of illegal gain. 

  • Do not click on or submit any information to webpages. 
  • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages. 
  • Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the Security Tip
  • Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.

Users who are infected should change all passwords AFTER removing the malware from their system. Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.  Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.

Relevant URL(s):
<http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-014.html>

<http://www.us-cert.gov/reading_room/emailscams_0905.pdf>

<http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-010.html>

____________________________________________________________________

   Produced by US-CERT, a government organization.

Updated: March 22, 2013 — 7:25 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 20th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural Missouri, just a few miles from the Big Muddy. Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises. Since 1997, he has provided guidance, authentic government survival history, and commentary on why we all need to get ready for that fateful day in the future, when we have to get our hands dirty and step in to save the day. He is an award winning videographer (2005 Telly Award), has received state and national scholarly recognition (2006 New Century Scholar and All USA Academic Team), and is a natural with computers, technology, gadgets, small furry mammals, and anything on wheels. Rich likes making friends, solving problems, and creating solutions to everyday issues. He doesn't mind mixing things up, when there is a teaching moment ready to happen. As a constitutional conservative, he's staying quite busy these days. The SurvivalRing Radio Show at www.survivalringradio.com will be coming back SOON!

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