Foreign Cyberattack Might Reach Average US Computer Users
MCALLEN – A massive cyberattack originating in Europe has impacted the second-largest pharmaceutical company in the U.S.
South Texas College Chief Information Officer Victor Gonzalez said he’s had a busy week so far.
He said the ransomware has reached the U.S. and impacted Merck, the second biggest drug maker in the country.
"It's a ransomware. It encrypts your data and makes it unavailable,” he said.
Gonzalez added the malicious software can appear on a computer through a link or an attachment in an email, usually in regards to an upgrade for a computer's antivirus software.
"They'll try to make you think that it's urgent to click on that link or open that file," he said. "Be aware of those suspicious emails that have some kind of urgency.”
If a user clicks on a link, Gonzalez said they will be asked to pay using Bitcoin currency.
"Bitcoin is cryptocurrency that cannot be traced or is very difficult to be traced," he said.
Gonzalez said hackers tend to target people or organizations that are well funded. However, it doesn't mean average users can't be targeted as well.
He said the final impact of the cyberattack may not be seen until Wednesday.
Gonzalez stressed users to not open any links or emails that seem suspicious.