University of Southern California

“Petya” Ransomware Warning

Posted on by mbordas

Earlier this week, a major cyberattack hit government agencies and businesses in Europe and around the world using a type of malware referred to as Petya.

Petya is similar to the recent WannaCry attack in that it appears to infect computers with ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts files on the user’s machine. Users are unable to open the files without a special decryption key, or password, which the attacker offers to sell for some amount of money.

Protecting Your Devices from Petya and Other Malware

Check to make sure you have taken the following steps to secure your devices:

  • Install and run antivirus software. Sophos Endpoint Security is available for free to all USC students, faculty, and staff. To help protect your devices from this and other threats, ITS recommends that you install Sophos or other antivirus software on all of your devices and regularly scan for malware. To download the Sophos software for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, go to software.usc.edu/antivirus.
  • Keep your systems up-to-date. Software companies regularly release updates for their supported products. These updates often contain security patches that address known vulnerabilities. For example, recent Microsoft updates include security patches that protect against the vulnerabilities exploited by Petya and WannaCry.

Additional Security Tips

  • Be cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments in emails. Hackers may try to infect your computer by sending you a phish email with a compromised attachment or a link to a webpage specially crafted to download malware onto your machine. Learn how to recognize suspicious emails on the ITS Security Blog at it-security.usc.edu/2013/03/29/before-you-click-that-link.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that offer it. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security in addition to your password.

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