New Email Threat Involving Ransomware

December 12, 2016 / By: Information Technology Services

There is a new type of spear phishing email targeting members of the St. Thomas Community.   ITS is encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for emails referring to charges on your MasterCard or Visa.  The email has an attached file that includes a password to open the file.  Do Not Open the attached file. Once this file is opened, it will infect your computer.

What does the email look like? 

The recent ransomware example looks like the following message claiming that money will be charged to your Mastercard. 


Example of a ransomware email that was sent to a St. Thomas employee asking for the recipient to check the balance on the attached document to verify their Mastercard balance. If they do not, it says they will be charged $2,933.60 dollars.

What happens if you open the file?

The file will infect your computer with a type of malware called Ransomware.  Ransomware prevents users from accessing their system, either by locking the system's screen or by locking the users' files unless a ransom is paid, typically with Bitcoin as this form of currency is untraceable. Ransomware creators and other cyber criminals involved in the malware economy are remorseless.They’ve automated their attacks to the point of targeting anyone and everyone.  That’s why, after testing ransomware on home users and evaluating the impact, they moved onto bigger targets: police departmentscity councils and even schools and, worse, hospitals.

Example of a ransomware message that was sent to a St. Thomas employee. It scans the computer for documents and asks the recipient to pay money to retrieve their files back from the ransomers.

What to do if you have Ransomware

If you have been infected with ransomware turn off your computer, disconnect if from the network immediately, and contact the ITS Tech Desk for next steps at 651-962-6230.