Beware of new image files you didn’t download: They may launch ‘Locky’ ransomware

locky ransomware self downloading image files hacker  hacking symbol
www.elbpresse.de
If you see a new image or graphic file on your computer that you don’t recall downloading, do not open it. The Locky ransomware program has moved on from MS Office Word to Facebook and LinkedIn vulnerabilities, and is now putting files on your computer that can lock you out of your data, according to Ars Technica.

Earlier this year Locky arrived on computers via a “malicious macro” in a Word document. In the last week, however, Ars Technica quotes Israeli security company Check Point reporting a “massive spread of the Locky ransomware via social media, particularly in its Facebook-based campaign.”

Typically what happens is that when you click on an image thumbnail, rather than displaying the image in a separate window, the file automatically downloads. It would be natural for most people to then click on the downloaded image — and that’s what executes the Locky code and immediately locks up all your files and demands ransom.

Vulnerabilities in Facebook and LinkedIn have been exploited by the perpetrators of the Locky attack, according to Check Point. “The attackers have built a new capability to embed malicious code into an image file and successfully upload it to the social media website. The attackers exploit a misconfiguration on the social media infrastructure to deliberately force their victims to download the image file. This results in infection of the users’ device as soon as the end user clicks on the downloaded file.”

When Locky is activated on your computer the ransomware locks you out of your files. The only way to retrieve your data is by paying a ransom, hence the term ‘ransomware.’ Ars Technica reports the current ransom to unlock a user’s computer is about half a bitcoin, or $365.

Check Point stated it previously informed Facebook and LinkedIn of the vulnerability currently being used in the ransomware attack, but won’t make the details public until those social media and other major sites fix the security flaw.

The security firm’s recommendations to consumers are: “If you have clicked on an image and your browser starts downloading a file, do not open it. Any social media website should display the picture without downloading any file. Don’t open any image file with unusual extension (such as SVG, JS or HTA).” Note, however, that the file extension could also be JPG, PNG, or any other common form.

The bottom line on avoiding this particular means of an attack by Locky is, if you click on an image and it starts to download, whatever you do, do not open the image file on your computer.

Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Gaming

Master Shinobi combat with our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice beginner's guide

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest games of the generation, and it can be overwhelming, even for those who have played From Software's other games. Here is what you need to know to get started.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Gaming

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Computing

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Deals

Time to do taxes? Save up to 50 percent on H&R Block tax software this weekend

Tax season is stressful, and with new tax laws in effect this year, it's not a bad idea to get some help. H&R Block has you covered: For two days only, you can save 50 percent on its great software so you can file your taxes online and save…
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.