The Global Ransomware Epidemic May Just Be Getting Started – Embry-Riddle Cybersecurity Experts Offer Recommendations

Why do healthcare systems and hospitals seem to be the most harmed by ransomware? Can ransomware attacks disrupt the US aviation industry? What is the problem in protecting these vital infrastructures against cyberattacks?

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From Alfred Ng with CNET“Thousands of computers around the world are getting locked up by a fast-spreading ransomware. Big businesses are getting hit. An entire hospital is shut out of its system. Suddenly, it’s everywhere: the next big ransomware attack.” See attached.

Daytona Beach, Fla. — “These waves of attack have had devastating effects within a number of industry sectors. Companies and governments have been affected not necessarily because they have been targeted as much as because they are susceptible. The common thread in these attacks has been largely based on NSA-written code called EternalBlue, which exploits a vulnerability in Windows’ Server Message Block (SMB) protocol that supports file and other resource sharing,” says Dr. Gary Kessler, chair of the Security Studies & International Affairs Department at Embry-Riddle.

From PCMag.com – Petya Ransomware: What You Need to Know

“The current spate of cyber attacks — WannaCry, Petya, Nyetya — are malware that can be categorized as a “ransomware worm”; i.e., once a system is infected, it can move on to other systems all by itself,” says Dr. Remzi Seker, professor of computer science and director of the Cybersecurity and Assured Systems Engineering Center. “Ransomware is an insidious form of malicious software that encrypts the files on your computer’s hard drive (possibly including any plugged in USB devices), and then demand a ransom payment in order to obtain the decryption key.” See attached.

Ways to protect yourself:

1. Apply Microsoft patches and stay up-to-date.

2. Always backup data!

3. Use anti-malware software on hosts and e-mail servers.

4. Educate users not to click on attachments and embedded links in e-mail.

5. Have, and test, a disaster recovery plan (which should include backing up data).

For interviews, please contact James Roddey, Director of Communications, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Office: (386) 226-6198; james.roddey@erau.edu

The Department of Security Studies and International Affairs offers students the opportunity to have a positive impact on our nation’s security with a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security degree program, a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management & Policy and a Master of Science in Human Security & Resilience. Department coursework includes emergency management, terrorism studies, international relations, forensic accounting, risk analysis and strategy, environmental security, cybersecurity, internships, class projects and a senior capstone research project, all designed to solve today’s challenges for real-world clients.

The Cybersecurity and Assured Systems Engineering Center (Cybase) in the Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering Department of the College of Engineering, performs research in cybersecurity associated with critical infrastructures and assured systems such as aviation and aerospace systems. The center hosts researchers composed of faculty members from different programs and professionals from different departments at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s National Security Agency Certificate of Completion presents a curriculum of three required courses, which address the core tenets of the National Security Agency, Committee on National Security Systems’ Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) Professionals, NSTISSI 4011 requirements.

The College of Security and Intelligence at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz., campus offers a B.S. in Cyber Intelligence and Security. Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy.

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.