Repeat after me: Think before you click. By now, we should all be aware that malicious files lurk in email attachments and links – and more recently, in image files. Now the bad guys have expanded their exploits to Facebook Messenger by sending messages that include a zip or .svg file. Once you click to open the file, malware is installed on your computer AND similar infected messages will spread to your Facebook friends and family. Some of this malware has shown up as ransomware – you remember ransomware, right? It’s where cybercriminals encrypt all the files on your computer (or network!) and force you to pay a ransom in bitcoins in order to retrieve them.
Here are the practical steps you can take to protect your computer, your files, your identity, your company records, and your online reputation:
- If you get a Facebook message from someone you don’t know or rarely hear from, proceed very cautiously to ensure it’s a legitimate message.
- Don’t open any files with zip or .svg extensions.
- Instead of trusting every email/message you get, consider every email to be suspicious until you’ve verified it.
- Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious messages.
These attacks are successful because they appear in applications we use for networking and socializing, and the messages appear to come from people we know and trust. But we all need to be extra cautious when interacting online. To read more about this particular attack, click here, and as always – think before you click!