Campus Life

Penn Staters encouraged to protect computers against online threats

UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa. — An extensive new ransomware cyberattack targeting Windows operating systems is disrupting businesses and institutions around the world. The campaign works similarly to the WannaCry attack — which affected hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe in May — by infiltrating companies’ systems and holding their data ransom until they pay a fee.  

The Office of Information Security at Penn State has not detected the ransomware, called Petya, within University systems at this time, and is continuing to closely monitor the situation.

To secure Penn State systems, data and people against ransomware and other types of threats, the University employs a wide array of technical solutions, policy and educational efforts. These security measures include proactively performing vulnerability scans and blocking potential attacks at the University’s border.

Although the Petya ransomware campaign has largely targeted hosts in Europe, it is important for Penn State students, faculty and staff to remain vigilant in protecting their personal devices and systems against cyberattacks and other online threats.

How to protect yourself

  • Keep software up to date and apply security patches: Make sure operating systems, browsers and applications are up to date and patched with the latest security releases to mitigate vulnerabilities.
  • Look out for phishing attempts: Be vigilant when using email and opening attachments and be suspicious of links in email. For more information on how to identify phishing attempts and to report phishing messages, visit
  • Use antivirus software: Keep antivirus software updated and ensure scanning is enabled. Students, faculty and staff can download Symantec Endpoint Protection for personal and University-owned machines at
  • Back up systems and data: Make sure computer systems and files are regularly backed up.
  • Report problems: Report issues of compromise or suspected compromise to the Office of Information Security by sending an email to

For help

For more information about cybersecurity at Penn State, visit the Office of Information Security’s website. For tips on backing up data, avoiding malware and phishing, boosting mobile security and more, visit Penn State’s Online Safety and Security website.

For assistance, contact your local IT support, call the IT Service Desk at 814-865-4357 or email

Last Updated June 28, 2017