As if there weren’t already enough reasons to distrust your emails, a ransom ware attack in late May shows that hackers have the power to steal money and information without your input. Well, actually they don’t, but that’s not what all the headlines said a week ago.
Many cyber attacks and news articles rely on fear to get their results. Most ransomware utilizes fear of file deletion to get their victims to pay the criminal money, and may or may not destroy everything anyway after the victim pays ransom. Hackers do not need to use fear to get your money though, not knowing that it is possible to get a virus through a certain method works just as well.
Everyone knows you can get malware through emails, and if you didn’t, now you do. Fortunately, you normally have to open the malware-ridden email and click a link or download a file before you compromise your personal information and computer, but there is still a chance you might end up doing just that. So, here’s one of the latest email ransomware attack strategies: get the user to download a Microsoft PowerPoint file.
Yeah, it’s not really a new strategy, but it’s tried and true right? The specific email tells the receiver to see an attached invoice or order form and the email contains an attached PowerPoint presentation. Upon downloading and opening the PowerPoint presentation, you’ll see a single hyperlink in the center of the slide which says “Loading…please wait”. Here’s a little example of what the infected presentation looks like which I made using Google Slides after seeing a picture of the real infected presentation on engadget:
It’s not very sophisticated looking, but if you are running an older version of Powerpoint which does not have the Protected View feature, all you have to do to get malware is hover your cursor over the “Loading…please wait” hyperlink. You don’t even have to click the hyperlink, just hovering your mouse cursor over the words will execute a PowerShell script that will give your computer a Trojan capable of stealing personal account information. If you think your computer is infected, consider running an antivirus software such as malwarebytes, get a PC tune-up, or – if you run out of choices/don’t care about anything you have on your PC -factory resetting it before making accounts containing your personal or billing information.
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