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.
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