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September 11, 2017

IRS Issues New Email Ransomware Warning

Earlier today, we ran an advisory explaining how scammers are now sending malicious emails pretending to be with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It’s since come to our attention that there is another major email scam making its way around the Internet that poses a legitimate threat to your organization.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an urgent warning about a new email scam that impersonates both the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The email is designed to look very professional, as it contains official emblems from both organizations. The body contains an invitation for users to click on a link and participate in a questionnaire.

If you receive this message, DO NOT click on the link as it actually contains ransomware. Clicking the link will infect your computer with this devastating form of malware, which will lock, or encrypt, your private files.

Keep in mind that most government organizations like the FBI and IRS do not typically interact with users over email for support or feedback purposes. As such, this type of notification should be flagged and passed along to an IT member or law enforcement agency for further inspection if it is received.

Users who do click on the link by accident are advised not to pay the ransom, as doing so could result in funding a hacking — or even a terrorist — organization. What’s more, making a payment will not guarantee that the group will decrypt the ransomware from an infected machine.  Simply put, they will take your money and run.

What’s very troubling is that this trick is bound to work on many end users — especially those who are frustrated with the federal government’s notorious customer service and want to sound off about the issues they are experiencing. Last year, it should be noted, the federal government finished last out of 21 major industries for customer service. Now it looks like hackers are trying to cash in on this weakness.

This is yet another example of how hackers are having a field day using cheap, pre-made and easily-accessible malware kits to exploit vulnerable organizations. Every company must recognize the imminent danger that hackers pose, and take steps to protect sensitive assets before they are compromised.

So, where do you even begin? A logical first step is to consult with a managed services provider (MSP) offering the latest insight, guidance and solutions for strong cybersecurity.

Apex Technology Services, for instance, is an MSP serving businesses in Greater New York City including all of the five boroughs, Westchester, Rye, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers. Apex also serves businesses all across Connecticut, and beyond. In addition to offering cybersecurity, Apex also provides solutions for outsourcing network services, IT consulting and computer help desk support.

To learn more about Apex Technology Services, click here.  

A new breed of hacktrepeneurs has awoken and they have little to fear and everything to gain by infecting as many companies as possible and extorting money from them. Apex Technology Services stands ready to protect your company regardless of whether it’s located in New York CityWhite Plains, New York; Connecticut; Australia; Europe; or anywhere else. Our full suite of cybersecurity and IT support services is at your disposal, enabling you to spend less time worrying about and more time growing your business.

To ensure your security, consider one of our most popular services — Auditing & Documentationwhich pinpoints vulnerabilities in your infrastructure, process flow and internal security procedures.

Apex Technology Services
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