Consumer Alert: Microsoft warns of an email that gives cyber thieves control of your computer

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This consumer alert concerns crooks controlling your computer. Microsoft sent out a warning this week about one doozy of a malware attack.

Cyber thieves sent out hundreds of thousands of dangerous emails last week. Each had an attachment that looked like a PDF. But it’s malware, an especially dangerous kind of malware called a RAT, remote access trojan. The name is apropos because when you click on that attachment, you unwittingly unleash malware into your computer, giving cyber thieves remote access to all your passwords and accounts as they monitor your every keystroke. The name given to this specific malware is "STRRAT."

So… here’s what you need to look out for. The dangerous email has an attachment that looks like a PDF. It may have the words "outgoing payments" in the subject line or the message makes a reference to "accounts payable."

Another of the dangerous emails addresses the message to "supplier" and reads "Your payment has been released as per attached payment advice." Then it asks you to click on the attachment to verify your payment.

But the emails were sent last week. You may have opened that attachment long before Microsoft warned us about the threat this week. You need to get the malware off your computer. And you can do that with anti-virus software. The IT experts at PC Magazine evaluated more than 40 different types.

These are three of their recommendations and I checked the pricing for you:

If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, I get it. You can remove the malware yourself manually. Be patient. It may take a while. Click here for instructions.

And that’s your consumer alert.