U.S. House Bars Staffers From Using Yahoo Mail

Photo (cc) by crimfants

The U.S. House of Representatives has blocked access to Yahoo Mail due to concerns about ransomware.

TechCrunch reported this week that the House technology service desk emailed House staff members at the end of last month to tell them they had been blocked from accessing Yahoo Mail from the House computer network.

The email cited an increase in ransomware attacks on the free email service’s network.

It said the attackers used third-party web-based email services like Gmail and primarily Yahoo Mail to try to get ransomware onto the network. Specifically, the attackers emailed links or attachments that, when clicked on or downloaded, respectively, led the ransomware to be installed on the victim’s computer.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that enables attackers to encrypt a victim’s computer files, effectively barring the victim from accessing those files until the victim pays a “ransom.”

Ransomware has become more common in recent years, with organizations ranging from the FBI to cybersecurity firms issuing warnings in the past year alone.

The email from the House technology service desk, which Gizmodo also obtained and published in full, urges staff:

Please do your part to help us address this recent attack and protect the House Network going forward by following proper cyber practices at all times. Phishing e-mails can look very legitimate and appear to come from known senders. Be very careful about clicking on attachments or links in e-mails, particularly when you are using non-House e-mail systems.

To learn more about how you can protect yourself from attempted cyberattacks, check out “5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Computer Crimes.”

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