Cyber threats to government networks and other critical infrastructure are one of our Nation’s most pressing security challenges. Consequences from attacks threaten the safety and security of the homeland, our economic competitiveness, and our way of life. With the majority of critical infrastructure owned and operated by the private sector, securing cyberspace is only possible through close collaboration, what we described as a “Collective Defense” model of shared responsibility.
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 spreading ransomware and other cybersecurity threats.
The Department of Homeland Security is aware of reports of ransomware known as WannaCry affecting multiple global entities. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Microsoft released a patch in March that addresses this specific vulnerability, and installing this patch will help secure your systems from the threat. Individual users are often the first line of defense against this and other threats, and we encourage all Americans to update your operating systems and implement vigorous cybersecurity practices at home, work, and school.
In July of last year, President Obama released Presidential Policy Directive/ PPD-41, United States Cyber Incident Coordination, establishing clear principles that will govern the Federal government's actions in responding to significant cyber incidents. I am pleased to announce today’s on-schedule release of this plan, which will help DHS and the federal government improve our ability to manage cyber incidents.
Today, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reflected on the state of cybersecurity at DHS and the implications of the new Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Cyber Incident Coordination at the International Conference on Cybersecurity in New York. The PPD was announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, at the same conference earlier in the week.