Security Alert: New virus impacts Windows users

You may have seen the news over the past day regarding the Petya virus. Please know that we are researching this new cyberattack and following developments. Although how it infects its victims is not entirely clear this early in the outbreak, we remind all users to be vigilant when surfing the Internet and opening email.

If you receive a suspicious email, please delete it immediately. Do not forward suspicious messages to other users as this may result in them clicking on a malicious link. 

What we know so far:

As the virus first hit yesterday, there is still a lot unknown. The attack started in the Ukraine and has spread across more than 65 countries. So far, European countries have been hit the hardest. As of earlier today, approximately a dozen US companies have been affected, including Merck and Mondelez International (the owners of brands such as Oreo and Nabisco).

Although this resembles previous malware, it seems to be an evolution of the Petya virus that acts similarly to the recent ransomware attacks. Computers infected with the new virus display a black screen with red text reading, “Oops, your important files have been encrypted. If you see this text then your files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted. Perhaps you are busy looking to recover your files but don’t waste your time.”

The attackers then demand a payment of $300 in bitcoin to a specific address. Although the address had logged transactions (or payments), it is unclear if the affected users were able to recover any files. There are some reports that the virus is wiping data, rather than encrypting it.

Although efforts are being made to circumvent the virus, experts have not yet found a kill-switch that would completely stop it.

Daystar DIRECT Clients:

Rest assured that Daystar's centralized services ensure that all your operating system updates and security patches are up-to-date. We will continue to monitor the virus and will proactively make any new patches necessary to protect your systems. If there is anything further you need to do, we will communicate it at that time.

All Other Clients & Associates:

We strongly advise that you immediately verify that all patches and updates are made. If you are running any unsupported systems, e.g. Windows 2003 or Windows XP, please understand that Microsoft is not issuing any updates for these older systems. Consideration should be made to eliminating any unsupported devices from your network.

Should you have any questions, please contact your IT support vendor. Daystar clients should contact us immediately via your support portal, e-mail, or phone at 603-766-5924 x3.

Stay safe!

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