Once again, fake electricity bills are being circulated via email claiming to be from AGL in an attempt to spread ransomware. The email looks like a standard electricity bill, however it directs the recipient to click a link where a ‘bill’ will be downloaded onto your computer. Once the ‘bill’ has been downloaded, it will install ransomware onto your computer and demand a payment in order to decrypt the files on your computer.
This email scam is similar to the one that was sent out earlier in June. The current email scam claims that people who were affected by recent storms and floods will receive assistance from AGL.
If you have been hit, the Australian Government’s online safety program, Stay Smart Online, does not encourage responding to the extortion and paying up. It is a gamble paying up as they may not actually decrypt your files, and it does not protect your computer against further attacks. In many cases, the attacker strikes your computer again knowing that you will pay up. In addition, paying up reinforces their online criminal business model and in many cases the extortion money actually goes towards known gangs and into further development to evolve ransomware into something a lot worse than what it currently is.
AGL advises that anyone who receives such suspicious emails to run antivirus software and block the sender by adding them to the junk mail list. However ransomware easily bypasses antivirus programs as there are so many derivatives of it. In addition, antivirus would not have picked up the ransomware virus because they cannot detect it – otherwise your computer would have not been affected in the first place. That’s why we recommend that you use BankVault to inspect suspicious emails, email attachments, and websites that may seem unassuming first but have agonising consequences. It is the only protection out there which truly provides ransomware protection.