New computer virus and best practice security tips

Dear Staff and Students

A new computer virus known as Zepto is making the rounds online.This virus is spread with the help of spam (more than 150,000 spam messages shared on the Internet are believed to be used to infect users with this ransom-ware).

Typically, people are tricked into downloading an infected .zip or .docm attachment by using tempting subject lines, such as "Please, see the attachment, "To the head of sales", "Scanned image", etc.

Once your computer is infected,all your files are made inaccessible through the addition of a .zepto extension to each file and at the end of the encryption process, the Zepto ransom-ware virus changes the desktop picture with an image that presents information about the virus and a request to pay a ransom. Of-course there is no guarantee that if you go ahead and make a financial payment,you will receive a decryption key.Chances are you will loose both your money and files!

Should Mak-users be worried?

Absolutely! With increased sophistication in cyber attacks,it's important that end-users (normally the weakest link in the cyber-security ecosystem),pay attention to all their online activities in addition to adhering to all given best practice security tips.

DICTS has in the recent past shared several best practice security guidelines for end-users.Please follow the links below for the guidelines.

Best practices for computer security

Secure and Manage Your Computer (Windows OS)

Secure and Manage Your Computer (Linux/Unix)

Secure and Manage Your Computer (Mac)

In addition to the above links,I will emphasize the following:

1) Make sure you have a fully updated security solution installed on your computer. DICTS provides Sophos as the enterprise security solution for all Makerere users and this can be downloaded to your computer by following this link . Please note that any security solution is as good as it's last update.It's therefore important that you keep Sophos or any other security solution you use up-to-date.

2) Make sure your computer operating system files are up-to-date. Turn on automatic updates for operating system files and patches.

3) Avoid sharing removable storage devices (flashes and external hard-drives).You can share documents with colleagues via cloud-based drives (Google Drive,Dropbox,One-Drive etc).

4) Pay attention to your online activities,avoid downloading attachments from unknown sources and also avoid visiting websites that are highly susceptible to viruses (pornography,gaming sites etc).Your Smartphones and tablets are also highly vulnerable to attacks,therefore be careful with what you access on them.