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Tricks of the trade

Be on the lookout for ransomware traps

Ransomware prevents users from accessing computer files, systems or networks until a ransom is paid.

The Postal Service is warning employees and contractors to be aware of cybercriminals who use ransomware, a type of malware that can hold entire computer networks hostage until a ransom is paid.

Employees can unknowingly download ransomware onto a computer by opening an email attachment, clicking an ad, following a link or even visiting a website that’s embedded with malware.

If an employee believes a computer or device has been affected by ransomware, they should do the following:

• Stop using the infected device;

• Email or call the Cybersecurity Operations Center at 866-877-7247; and

• Report the incident to your manager or supervisor.

Employees are also reminded not to use the infected device unless instructed to do so by the Postal Service’s computer incident response team or the IT help desk.

The U.S. Justice Department reports that 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since 2016, with cybercriminals targeting school districts, large cities and businesses big and small.

For example, the FBI recently dismantled the Russian-linked Hive ransomware group by hacking into their network — but not before Hive had collected $100 million in ransom and targeted more than 1,500 victims in more than 80 countries.

The attack affected hospitals, crippled businesses and harmed critical infrastructure around the globe.

The CyberSafe at USPS pages on Blue and LiteBlue have additional information.