The rapid spread of Emotet malicious software around Australia

What is Emotet?

Emotet can be defined as a banking Trojan malware, which is targeting businesses and individuals in and around Australia. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has become conscious of this widespread malware. The ACSC provides managed IT Services in and around Melbourne. The malware has affected a large number of private and government organizations.

Unlike most viruses, Emotet is hard to detect and destroy. It is programmed in such a way that it can hide and spread throughout networks rapidly. They will look like normal files but it contains hidden information, which is used by cybercriminals to acquire sensitive information and to control your device or system.

Emotet is used by cybercriminals to access your personal data and information, hold recipients ransom or for installing harmful programs onto your devices without your knowledge. Other than malicious spam activity, this malware is also used to install other malware such as Trickbot, Ryuk, etc.

Working process of Emotet

Emotet is also known as email malware because of its process of attacking the individuals. A number of technical indicators show the presence of this malware but the main thing to confirm the presence of this malware is that you will receive a malware email from an external sender.

These emails mainly contain information about “Your Invoice” or “Payment Details”. The malicious email will contain a normal document attached to it. The document can be in various forms such as .doc, .docx, .pdf, etc. It can also be present in the email as a website hyperlink. Though the document may appear as an ordinary one, it comprises hidden code, which is harmful to your device or system.

Once you click on the link or open the document, the malware will start spreading throughout your network. The major problem is that once it affects the user’s account, the email is forwarded by itself to all the email contact of the users, thus, spreading at a tremendous rate. It may happen that even after the affected organization has detected and destroyed the malware, it is still operative in the devices of the user’s email contacts.

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Steps that should be taken to stay safe

In case your device is affected by this Emotet malware, you should follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Segregate the affected machines from your network so that the malware does not spread within your organization’s systems.
  • Warn your employees in advance that they may receive such malicious emails. Train them so that they do not click on those links and attachments. In case, they are in doubt about what to do with those links, tell them to speak with your IT team or to verify the authenticity of the mail from the sender.
  • In case you have cyber insurance, contact them as soon as possible so that they can provide you with expert assistance.
  • Deactivate Microsoft Office macros.
  • Maintain firewalls.
  • Always try to keep an offline backup of your information.

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