Beware: A new malware may be lurking in that Word file email attachment

There's a new virus in town and already it's affected nearly a half-million PCs, according to a recent Spiceworks article.

Dubbed "Locky," it's a new strain of ransomware, similar to Cryptolocker that plagued the world a couple of years ago, accept this one lives on a Microsoft Word attachment and uses macros.

"The bad guys use social engineering twice to trick the user first into opening the attachment, and then to enable the macros in the Word file," says the the article. The piece goes on to say the email's subject line will read something like ATTN:Invoice J-98223146, the message saying something like "Please see the attached invoice (Microsoft Word Document) and remit payment according to the terms listed at the bottom of the invoice."

According to the article, once the document is opened, the content will appear scrambled and will request you to enable macros to make it legible. Enabling the macros effectively unleashes the virus on your system and, before you know it, encrypts the files on your computer and even potentially your network, leaving them inaccessible.

As you might have heard before, the weakest point in the security of a network is the user — but it doesn't have to be that way. You can be part of the security by simply being careful clicking on links or opening attachments.

While there currently is no known way to decrypt files affected by Locky, there is one way to beat the malware, but it's the only way — a data back-up and disaster recovery system. Basically, with such a system, if you get infected, all you have to do go back to your system configuration as it was before infection and you're back in business — in no time at all.

And that's important, as according to one Gartner estimate, the average hourly cost of downtime for computer networks rings in at $42,000. So the less downtime you have, the better.


  1. Be careful about what links and attachments in your email. If a link or attachment seems suspicious, there's probably good reason for that. 
  2. Invest in a BDR system so if your network goes down due to a virus or any other reason, you have a healthy system to fall back on and keep your business running with little to no downtime.

If you want to know more about BDR, our managed network services team will be glad to help you out. Just fill out the form and we'll contact you shortly. 

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