Petya Cyber Attack

PUBLISHED: Jun 29, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Behavioral Health, Clinical Lab, Critical Access Hospitals, Home Health, Hospice, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office

There have many multiple reports of the Petya ransomware attacks throughout the world since Tuesday June 27, 2017.

According to NPR, the Department of Homeland Security's Scott McConnell says the agency is "monitoring reports of cyber attacks affecting multiple global entities and is coordinating with our international and domestic cyber partners."

AP is reporting that the attack was confirmed to have spread beyond Europe when U.S. drugmaker Merck, based in New Jersey, said its systems had also been compromised.

Computers that are hit by the malware display a locked screen that demands a $300 bitcoin payment to retrieve files. It is being reported that the malware was delivered in emails that had been created to resemble business correspondence.

According to HHS, 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 infections, review US-CERT Alert TA16-091A.

Ransomware incidents should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

HHS Recommendations include:

  • Educate users on common Phishing tactics to entice users to open malicious attachments or to click links to malicious sites.
  • Patch vulnerable systems with the latest Microsoft security patches:
  • Verify perimeter tools are blocking Tor .Onion sites
  • Use a reputable anti-virus (AV) product whose definitions are up-to-date to scan all devices in your environment in order to determine if any of them have malware on them that has not yet been identified. Many AV products will automatically clean up infections or potential infections when they are identified.
  • Monitor US-CERT for the latest updates from the U.S. government.
  • Utilize HPH Sector ISAC and ISAO resources.

This attack presents another opportunity to educate your staff. All staff should be aware of the following:

  • Do not click on links or attachments in emails that come from unknown senders/sources.
  • Be suspicious of any link even when sent from someone you know. Their machine could be infected without their knowledge.
  • When in doubt about a link, delete the email.
  • Stay away from questionable websites. Do not download materials from unknown websites.
  • Be aware of unusual behavior on computers; act quickly if you think the computer has become infected.
  • Immediately notify the IT department when any computer acts unusual.

If your organization is the victim of a ransomware attack, HHS recommends the following steps:

  • Contact your FBI Field Office Cyber Task Force ( or US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force ( immediately to report a ransomware event and request assistance. These professionals work with state and local law enforcement and other federal and international partners to pursue cyber criminals globally and to assist victims of cyber-crime.
  • Report cyber incidents to the US-CERT ( and FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (
  • **NEW** If your facility experiences a suspected cyberattack affecting medical devices, you may contact FDA’s 24/7 emergency line at 1-866-300-4374. Reports of impact on multiple devices should be aggregated on a system/facility level.
  • For further analysis and healthcare-specific indicator sharing, please also share these indicators with HHS’ Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (HCCIC) at

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