RANSOMWARE ALERT: New Zepto Virus on the Rise

Published: 26 July 2016

According to the Annual Fraud Indicator it is estimated that cyber crime as a whole costs businesses and individuals around £193 billion per year.

In its simplest terms, ransom-ware stops you from using your PC. The virus holds your files for ‘ransom’ and will ask you to pay a ransom amount before you can use your PC. A new strain of ransom-ware, known as Zepto is now on the rise, so we want to remind you to remain vigilant when opening any attachment from unknown sources.

What does Zepto do?

Zepto is the latest form of ransom-ware to strike internet users. All Zepto spam messages use a compressed ‘.Zip’ archive which includes a malicious JavaScript file. This is used to infect your computer with the Zepto ransom-ware.

Once you have fully downloaded the file, the machine begins encrypting all local files and demands ransom- which can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds, payable by Bitcoin to decrypt the files.  This can also leave your business open to vulnerabilities in terms of downtime and compromising business data.

What should I look out for?

The body of the emails generally urge you to look at your “requested” documentation, while the name of the attached .zip file is created by combining your name and a random number such as “pdf_copy-john_461397.”

If you’ve just come back from holiday, be aware that you could already have a Zepto attachment in your inbox. Ensure that you take extra precautions when opening and forwarding emails.

How can I remain protected?

It is advised that you take precautions when browsing the web and dealing with newly received emails. We would advise you to take the below steps to ensure you remain protected:

  • Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus solution installed
  • Don’t trust attachments, even if it’s from someone you know. If you’re suspicious, seek confirmation from the sender that it’s genuine
  • Avoid clicking, opening or forwarding any attachments from people or companies you aren’t expecting attachments from
  • If you don’t already take your backups off site, consider backing them up on to an external USB drive for added protection

Zepto ransom-ware is very new but as it is a form of Locky ransom-ware, there is currently no way of decrypting the encrypted files.  If you’re concerned that backups aren’t in place, functioning correctly or if you’re unsure, contact us today.

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