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The Rise in iScam Ransomware and How to Protect Yourself

We have received reports of rising incidents of iScam, a new form of Ransomware impacting Apple iPads and iPhones. With iScam, impacted devices are “held hostage” or “locked” until the ransom is paid.

Victims of iScam receive a fraudulent pop-up message on their screen when they open the Safari browser on their device. The pop-up warns that the device has been locked by a third party and instructs the user to call a toll-free number to unlock the device. Upon calling the number, the victim is asked to supply sensitive financial information including their credit or debit card number. The scammer then uses the card information provided to make fraudulent purchases.

Steps to disabling the pop-up if it appears on your Apple device:

  1. Go to your device Settings and enable Airplane Mode to disable connections with Wi-Fi and cellular services.
  2. Remove the browsing history on your Safari browser. Do this by visiting Settings >> Safari >> Clear History.
  3. Turn Airplane Mode off and re-open Safari.

iScam is the latest in ransomware scams that have been impacting consumer. It can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • Locks the operating system to limit or prevent it from being used until a ransom is paid.
  • Encrypts files on the targeted system. The decryption key is released when the ransom is paid.
  • A ransom note is left on the system containing instructions on how to pay the ransom and regain access to the system or files. There is often a time limit enforced to encourage the victim to pay quickly.

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your computer(s) and device(s) from Ransomware:

  1. Use a reputable computer security software to protects your PC against viruses and spyware attacks, and be sure to update the definitions often if it is not set up to do so automatically (which is recommended).
  2. Install the latest security updates for your operating system and any applications you use. Hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated versions.
  3. Do not open suspicious emails and delete them from your inbox and deleted items.
  4. Do not click on suspicious links or attachments. Doing so may deploy harmful malware on your computer/device or may lead to you to a fake website that asks you to give out personal or financial information.
  5. While browsing the internet, be cautious of clicking on banners and pop-ups. These are often fraudulently used to warn users of malware on their machines. Instead of clicking on the window, close it with a keyboard command (CTRL+ALT+DEL) or by right clicking on your taskbar.
  6. Back up important files on a regular basis. Use an external hard drive, an online ("cloud") service, USB flash drive or recordable media (such as a disc).

If you fall victim to iScam or Ransomware and notice suspicious activity on your Merrimack accounts, please contact us as soon as possible.

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