New COVID-19 Hard Drive Wiper is Destroying PCs
As cyber attackers continue to unleash new scams and attacks related to COVID-19, it is crucial for remote workers and individuals to remain aware of potential threats when seeking information about the virus.
A recently discovered COVID-19 themed hard drive wiper is destroying PCs by spreading malware, a malicious form of software. This malware has been found to wipe files, steal personal data, or rewrite the computer’s master boot record (MBR), which requires a specialist to rebuild once rewritten by an attacker. Unfortunately, there is not one single method that attackers are using to deliver this malware. Rather, it is connected to other COVID-19 attacks like phishing emails, malicious pandemic domains, and applications and programs that are dedicated to the virus.
- Backup Systems
Consistently perform backups on systems locally and off-site. Consider using a cloud back-up service provider.
- Review Software
Before installing any software, look over the reviews. Verify the legitimacy of the installation package and website. We recommend avoiding third-party sites and purchasing software directly from manufacturer sites.
- Update Software
Ensure your anti-virus software is updated and that the firewall is on and configured properly. Ensure operating systems are up-to-date with the most recent security updates. The patches and latest versions are should also be implemented and installed.
- Performing Security Scans
Run scheduled scans on your systems and files. For Windows devices, Windows Defender Antivirus is an antivirus software that regularly scans your device to help keep it safe. Visit https://www.usf.edu/it/class-prep/symantec-virus-protection.aspx for a list of USF’s recommended antivirus software.
- Password Security
Use strong, unique passwords for each account. Consider using password management software. Recommended link: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2018/03/27/Creating-and-Managing-Strong-Passwords
- Be wary of unsolicited emails and avoid clicking on links and attachments.
Cybercriminals use sophisticated methods to make phishing emails appear legit and it can often be difficult to tell whether an email is trustworthy or malicious. Even if the email appears to be from a trusted source, be cautious of clicking on links and email attachments in unsolicited emails – especially if it relates to COVID-19.