Bahamians urged to guard against ransomware surge


Tribune Business Reporter


A Bahamas-based cloud services provider yesterday warned consumers and businesses to on their guard for ransomware attacks as there is a "noticeable spike" during Christmas.

Scott MacKenzie, Cloud Carib's chief executive, told Tribune Business that Bahamians should be careful when opening e-mails during the festive period as well as their online purchases.

I think from an attack vector perspective, buying stuff online nowadays is not super unsafe," he said. "But there are a lot of attacks right now, with people receiving an email - basically malware and stuff like that - in PDF files, or people saying here's an invoice or here's a shipping request, or here's your confirmation for buying stuff, but it's not coming from a legitimate company.

“So people buying on Amazon or wherever need to be very careful, because there are a lot of bad actors that are actually sending malware and cryptoware and stuff like that through e-mail because there's so many people buying stuff from Amazon and eBay and stuff online right now.

"Now is a prime time for people - bad actors - to send people these things so that they end up with encrypted computers and then having to pay money.”

Ransomware attacks are not new, but can cripple personal devices or entire networks if unsuspecting individuals are duped into believing they are legitimate data and permit their entrance.

"There may be a slight spike from some of the reports,” Mr MacKenzie said. “But it’s not way more than normal. It’s just the regular holiday season that people should be extra cautious about opening any e-mail attachment.”

He urged consumers to pay special attention to the e-mails they receive as the sender may be using the logo of an official company such as Amazon or Ebay, yet their address is illegitimate. These attacks have gotten “very sophisticated".

Mr MacKenzie said: “Some of them look really good. There are a lot of them that are lazy and they’re easy to spot, but some of them are really sophisticated. That would be something I would say has advanced this year. It’s not really the volume but the sophistication is definitely there.”

Consumers must be especially wary when opening unsolicited e-mails because it is the “biggest attack vector” right now. That means fake invoices, even Christmas cards and any kind of attachment that you are unsure of, should be deleted or the service provider notified.


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