"Santa Clara Charity Has a Narrow Escape" (Criminals Almost Take Over Catholic Charity's Computers in California County)


The receptionist at this county’s Catholic Charity’s offices clicked on a harmless-seeming email message, and seconds later strange things began happening on her computer. A criminal gang from an unknown place had just placed a virus on the charity’s network that began encrypting all their files. If this criminal attempt succeeded, they would have had to pay money to the criminals, since only they could decrypt their files (other organization had already paid). However, they were saved by a fluke.
see sfchronicle.com/business/article/Santa-Clara-charity-has-a-narrow-escape-from-7384755.php


Why were they targeting a Catholic charity?


They target everyone Hapoened to me once and they demanded $5,000 to unencrypt the files Fortunately we had a off premed back up


I also was hit by ransom ware. I am not a business and certainly don’t have the money to give to criminals. Now that the FBI has found a back door I hope they go after or shut them down. Peace.


The full article is behind a pay wall. Can you briefly describe the “fluke”? (Summarize, don’t quote the article verbatim… )


Ow! My Sense of Irony!

Santa Clara charity has a narrow escape from ransomware

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County was one click away from danger — a threat that has been costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.

To continue reading this story, you will need to be a digital subscriber to SFChronicle.com.

:hmmm: :rotfl: :ehh:



Any chance of a precis? The story past the first two lines is behind a paywall.


The receptionist had opened an email which read: “Dear Customer: The attached document is a transaction payment confirmation from GlobalMarketing Ltd. Thank you for your business. We appreciate it very much.”

When she clicked on the attached document, her computer contacted a server in Ukraine which downloaded ransomware as if it were an automatic software update. The malware immediately began encrypting files on her computer.

However, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara was testing a device that scans its network for unusual behavior — like a desktop in San Jose contacting a server in Ukraine.

[quote=San Francisco Chronicle]A Darktrace analyst in New York City swiftly noticed that something was amiss and alerted the charity’s information-technology staff. A colleague disconnected Perez’s computer from the charity’s network. A few of the files on the computer had been encrypted but no real harm was done.


I guess this secretary was never told don’t click on links in strange emails. Luckily my emails like that are usually caught and put into my spam folder. Then I delete them. I NEVER click on strange links. I also have an email address that gets spam with attachments…I stip the attachments from the message by deleting them from it and never opening the link.

Never open links or attachments in strange emails…this should be part of the orientation for all charities.


Sounds like there may be room to work on the security training of their employees and their infastructure. Many modern security threats are in part based on social deceptions.

Also if the secunity settings that Microsoft had recommended back in 1999 were applied then it would not be possible for the ransom ware to do much; unless she needs administrative access to the computer she uses giving her a standard (restricted) account would limit potential damage to her own files. If the setting to only run signed executables were turned on then even if she were fooled the ransom ware would not have been able to do anything.

I was afraid of my parents getting Mal ware on their computer or falling for one of the emailed links. So I revoked their administrative privileges among other things to keep them safer.


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