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Fake ATO emails carrying ransomware being distributed

Researchers are warning of a widely distributed email that claims to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) but actually aims to infect computers with malicious software.  The malicious email tries to trick recipients by claiming their Business Activity Statements (BAS) are available to view, and includes a link that claims to enable recipients to download their BAS.  The ATO advises that BAS statements are not provided by email. 

Recipients who click on the link automatically download a file that itself downloads malicious software such as ransomware (a type of software that extorts money from victims by preventing access to their computer or files) or keyloggers (software that records every keystroke made on a computer to capture passwords and other sensitive information).  Once installed, this ransomware will encrypt the victim's files and demand payment to decrypt them.

These emails appear legitimate by incorporating logos and branding from the Australian Tax Office.  In addition, the sender email address Basnotification[at]ato[dot]gov[dot]au” also appears to be legitimate. 

If you are unsure whether an email is legitimate, you should contact the organisation, department or individual that the message purports to come from, using a number independently located on a website, phonebook or bill.

If you suspect your computer or network is infected, please contact our help desk.  Time is critical.

Article sourced from Stay Smart Online

Date posted: 2017-02-23 | posted by: ozdoc

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