Thirty Years On ~ Don’t Open that eMail Attachment

Filed under Security ~ by Press on  24 Oct 2019

It’s been 30 years, yet this old chestnut is still doing the rounds and catching the unwary.

The Emotet malware appears as a normal or useful file attachment in emails (.doc, .docx, .pdf), but includes hidden code which allows cybercriminals to access and control your devices or computer systems. It can also appear as a website hyperlink in emails.

Emotet malware infects devices or computers if users click on links or open files in these emails, which are sent as phishing emails to make them look like they come from someone you know, or an organisation you deal with.

Once a user account is infected, the malware forwards itself to all the users’ email contacts, increasing the likelihood of further infection.

Here is an example of one of these emails, but it can come in many different formats.

Example of Emotet phishing email

How do I stay safe?

Always use caution before opening emails and attachments, and clicking on links.

To prevent malware infection, the ACSC recommends you take the following steps immediately:

  • Disable Microsoft Office macros. (Macros are small programs used to automate simple tasks in Microsoft Office documents but can be used maliciously – visit the Microsoft website for information on disabling macros in your version of Office.) 
  • Maintain firewalls.
  • Make sure you have an offline backup of your information.

If you run a business, we recommend you also alert your staff to be aware of any emails that look unusual or suspicious. Refer to ACSC advice, www.cyber.gov.au/advice/improving-staff-awareness



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