Email with the subject line ‘Payment Accepted’ claims to be from a financial manager and requests that you check a payment confirmation by opening an attached file.
Subject: FW: Payment ACCEPTED M-362827
This email informs you that your payment has been accepted, although it does not bother to mention which payment it is referring to or what company is doing the accepting. The subject line of the email simply states ‘Payment accepted’ along with an apparent reference number. The body of the message asks that you open an attached file to check a payment confirmation.
The email claims to be from a Financial Manager.
Once installed, Locky will encrypt the files stored on your computer and rename them all with the file extension .locky. It will then display a ‘ransom note’ that demands that you pay a fee to cybercriminals via the dark web in order to get a decryption key that will unlock your files. The message will ask that you pay the fee in the online currency Bitcoin.
Alas, unless you have recent back ups, there is no easy way to recover your files once they have been encrypted by the Locky malware. If you give in to the demands and pay the ransom, you MAY receive the promised encryption key. However, you will be dealing with anonymous criminals who will retreat back into the shadows once they have their money. So, there is no guarantee that you will receive a working decryption key even if you pay up.
Details, such as the reference number, the attachment name, and the name and job description of the staff member who supposedly sent the email may vary in different versions. Similar emails that also carry Locky may claim that a payment has been declined or that the sender has received documents from your bank.
If you receive one of these emails, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.
Last updated: March 17, 2016
First published: March 17, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen