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US-CERT Message Regarding Worldwide Ransomware Attacks

Posted Date: June 28, 2017

Author: Tiina Rodrigue, Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity, Federal Student Aid

Subject: US-CERT Message Regarding Worldwide Ransomware Attacks

Many have read in the news about recent ransomware attacks around the world. On June 27, 2017, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) posted a message that offers information schools and other members of the financial aid community can use to help protect themselves.

The US-CERT message is available at

The US-CERT message reads as follows:

Multiple Petya Ransomware Infections Reported

US-CERT has received multiple reports of Petya ransomware infections in many countries around the world. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to the infected machine until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Individuals and organizations are discouraged from paying the ransom, as this does not guarantee that access will be restored. Using unpatched and unsupported software may increase the risk of proliferation of cybersecurity threats, such as ransomware.

Petya ransomware encrypts the master boot records of infected Windows computers, making affected machines unusable. Open-source reports indicate that the ransomware exploits vulnerabilities in Server Message Block (SMB). US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the US-CERT article on the Microsoft SMBv1 Vulnerability and the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010. For general advice on how to best protect against ransomware, review US-CERT Alert TA16-091A. Please report any ransomware incidents to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

We hope this information is helpful to schools and other members of the financial aid community. If you have questions about the US-CERT message, email

Last Modified: 06/27/2017