The rising tide of ransomware attacks worldwide has claimed a victim at Capitol Hill, and the House’s IT desk is having none of it.
Gizmodo reports that the support team issued a notification to all House staff at the end of April, explaining that it has noticed a marked increase in such attempts to lock users out of their files through Web-based email services like Yahoo Mail. As a result, it’s blocked access to it until further notice.
According to security firm Symantec’s latest threat report from last month, the frequency of email phishing has decreased drastically in the past three years. However, incidents involving crypto-ransomware – which encrypts users’ files and demands payment in exchange for the key to unlock them – are on the rise, having gone up by 35 percent in 2015 alone.
Although email services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail have been working to filter out phishing scams, it’s still possible for some of them to slip through the cracks.
According to the House’s IT team, the recent attacks it discovered appeared to come from known senders and included zip file attachments, making it difficult for laymen to identify them correctly and avoid opening them.
It’s clear that email service providers will have to beef up their defenses against such attacks. For its part, Yahoo said in a statement that it’s “collaborating closely with House IT staff to ensure that they have the right solutions in place to best protect their accounts.”