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SECURITY ALERT: New, widespread ransomware attacks reported across Europe

News agencies are reporting this morning a new wave of cyber attacks are hitting computers across Europe.  The pattern is similar to the spread of the so-called "WannaCry" ransomware attacks several weeks past.  Initial reports are that the attacks struck targets in the Ukraine and in Russia first, then rapidly spread west to Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom.  The expectation is that the attacks will soon spread to the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Security firms are still analyzing the malicious software, but the attacks appear to be using exploits comparable to those used by other ransomware attacks.  The software is spread initially through email phishing scams.  Once an computer is infected, data one the system is encrypted, effectively making it inaccessible to the computer user.  A ransom of about $300 is demanded for the encryption key, payable in Bitcoin. The malicious software can then spread to other computers on networks to which it is connected.

We will provide more details as they become available.  For the moment, you can best protect yourself by exercising extreme caution when processing your email.  Do not follow any embedded links in email unless you know the sender of the message, expected to receive the link from them and are confident that the target URL for the link is actually as it is presented in the message.