There's a new ransomware attack underway that you need to know about. This one, frighteningly, is being passed around in Microsoft Word documents. When you open it, hackers unleash a malware that encrypts your computer, so you can't access it without paying up.
In this case, hackers are demanding $500 to unlock your computer. Worse, that goes up to $1,000 if you don't comply fast enough.
This new ransomware, called PowerWare, works in a similar way to Locky. That's the ransomware that forced Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles to pay hackers $17,000 in untraceable bitcoins about a month ago. Hackers also used Locky to encrypt Methodist Hospital in Kentucky's computers. However, the hackers unlocked its computer system without any ransom paid.
Locky tricks users into allowing macros, which Windows automatically blocks. You can enable them, though.
PowerWare works in a similar way. You'll receive a Microsoft Word document, possibly an invoice. You click on it and it unlocks a macro that opens cmd.exe. That triggers Microsoft's PowerShell framework to download the ransomware.
PowerWare was discovered about 10 days ago. It was specifically targeting healthcare companies.
Note: Don't be the next victim of a ransomware attack. It's critical that you have a strong Internet security system on all your devices.