A new wave of ransomware attacks this week has targeted businesses around the world, including Merck, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical company; Mondelez, the company behind Oreos and Cadbury; and DLA Piper, a prestigious law firm in Washington, D.C.
“The ransomware infects and locks a computer, and then demands a $300 ransom to be paid in Bitcoins,” according to CNN. “Many firms, including Symantec, have suggested the ransomware is a variant of Petya, a known ransomware. But according to security firm Kaspersky Lab, preliminary findings indicate the attacks are from a new ransomware that it’s now calling ExPetr.”
CNN also reported that the ransomware is using multiple techniques to spread, including one that was addressed by Microsoft with a security patch released in March. Both Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are monitoring the cyberattacks.
Floral industry members should take the threat seriously, said Joe Aldeguer, the Society of American Florists’ director of IT. Best practices to avoiding a malware attack include:
Don’t click. “Think before you click or open any email attachment or link. When in doubt, contact your IT manager (if you have one with your business) or call the sender to verify the email,” Aldeguer said.
Act fast. “If you make the mistake of opening or clicking any suspicious attachment or link, immediately push the on / off switch of the computer until it turns off,” Aldeguer said. “This could prevent the computer from contacting the hacker’s computer to download the encryption key. This will also prevent the malware from spreading into your network, affecting other computers. Call your IT provider next.”
Update. “If you have a Windows computer, in the office or at home, make sure you have the latest security update,” he said. “If your Windows OS is older than Windows 10 or Windows 7, you are a prime target.”
Get additional tips from Aldeguer.