Tag Archives: threat

SRSU OIT Advisory: Petya Cyber Attack

Through news agencies and social media, many of you are aware of the current cyber attack, Petya, which started in Europe and continues to spread across the globe, including the U.S. This attack is similar to the devastating attack on organizations around the globe in May 2017. OIT is keeping an eye on developments in this latest attack and will keep you informed if and when the situation changes.

In the meantime, here are four things you can do immediately to lower the chance you will be impacted by this latest global threat.

1. Ensure all updates are applied on your computer. This includes Operating Systems (Windows, MacOS, others), applications (MS Office is the most common). Your SRSU computer is updated automatically each time Microsoft releases an update but you may want to check that on occasion.

2. Don’t click on email messages and attachments you are not expecting or seem unusual. If you receive something that doesn’t look right, assume it is not. Contact the person that supposedly sent it and verify the message or attachment(s) are valid. A 60-second phone call may save many months or years of work.

3.  Ensure your data is backed up to a location that is not accessible by a virus or ransomware attack. While not the first item on this list, this may be one of the most important and the one for which all the responsibility falls to you.  If you are not sure your hard drive is being backed up, assume that it is not.  SRSU OIT does not provide backups for your SRSU supplied desktop computer.  For some of you, backups are to an external hard drive. While a worthy solution, even external hard drives fail from time to time or can be corrupted if left plugged into an infected machine.  OIT recommends the use of Office 365 to store all your documents.

4.  Never download software not authorized by OIT. The beginnings of this latest threat come from tax accounting software. Once it gets inside an organization, it can spread from machine to machine if those machines are vulnerable to the threat.

OIT continues to monitor any situation that heighten the risk of your computer and data files being compromised. We will take appropriate actions as we see fit.

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Here are links if you are interested in learning more about this cyber attack:

Read Greg Freidline’s blog post here. https://blogs.sulross.edu/gfreidline/2017/06/28/block-petya-virus-on-a-computer/ WARNING: Lots of geek-speak here! 

Here is an excerpt from NPR talking about the Petya virus: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/28/534679950/petya-ransomware-hits-at-least-65-countries-microsoft-traces-it-to-tax-software.

Mobile Device Theft

Mobile Device in Hand

With an increasing amount of sensitive data being stored on mobile devices, the value and mobility of smartphones, tablets, and laptops make them appealing and easy targets. These simple tips will help you be prepared in case your mobile device is lost or stolen or misplaced.

  • Don’t leave your device alone, even for a minute! If you’re not using it, lock your device in a cabinet or drawer, use a security cable, or take it with you. It’s not enough to simply ask the stranger next to you in a library or coffee shop to watch your laptop for a few minutes.
  • Differentiate your device. It’s less likely that someone will steal your device and say they thought it belonged to them if your device looks unique. Sometimes these markings make the laptop harder to resell, so they’re less likely to be stolen. Use a permanent marking, engraving, or tamper-resistant commercial asset tracking tag.
  • Delete sensitive information. Don’t keep any restricted data on your laptop. We recommend searching your computer for restricted data and deleting it. Restricted data includes your Social Security number, credit card numbers, network IDs, passwords, and other personally identifiable information. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget that this information is on your computer!
  • Back it up. Set a reminder to backup your data on a regular basis! Keep an external copy of important files stored on your laptop in a safe location in case it is lost or stolen. Your photos, papers, research, and other files are irreplaceable, and losing them may be worse than losing your device.
  • Encrypt information. Protect your personal data with the built-in disc encryption feature included with your computer’s operating system (e.g., BitLocker or FileVault).
  • Record the serial number. Jot down the serial number of your device and store it in a safe place. This information can be useful for verifying your device if it’s found.
  • Install software. Install and use tracking and recovery software included with most devices (e.g., the “Find iDevice” feature in iOS) or invest in commercial products like LoJack or Prey. Some software includes remote-wipe capabilities. This feature allows you to log on to an online account and delete all of the information on your laptop. There are both paid and free versions of this type of software, and each provides different levels of features. Search online to find the best combination of cost and functions to meet your needs.

If you have question, please contact the Helpdesk at 432-837-8888.