Public Safety & Homeland Security

NENA Offers PSAPs Information in Light of Recent Ransomware Attack

The attack hit safety institutions in the U.K., including hospitals.

by Staff Report / May 15, 2017

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) said that in light of the recent ransomware attack that hit both private- and public-sector entities in multiple countries, it was not aware of any attacks on public safety answering points (PSAPs) or 911 service.

It said it was issuing a special alert to help its members defend against any attacks that may occur, according to a news release.

The so-called “WannaCry” attack leveraged recently released vulnerabilities and exploit techniques to take control of Windows-based computers. The attack software infects vulnerable machines and demands $300 or more in bitcoin. Victims that don’t pay are threatened with deletion of the encryption key, and that renders their data irretrievable.

The release said also that life-safety institutions in the U.K. including hospitals were hit. NENA recommends the following to protect from this attack:

•    PSAP IT departments should download, validate, test and install a Microsoft-issued patch to all affected machines as soon as possible.

•    Center managers should ensure that on- and off-site backups for all critical systems are being routinely maintained. Existing backups should be verified and test restores performed using systems without an active Internet connection.

•    PSAP IT departments should consider permanently disabling the SMB 1.0, SMB 2.0 and CIFS file sharing support of all Windows systems.

•    Shift supervisors should remind front-line employees to report any unusual computer behavior and to exercise added care when clicking links and entering credentials.

•    In the event of a compromise, do not pay. Contact your local FBI field office, notify National CyberSecurity and Communications Integration Center of any 911 service impacts at 888-282-0870, and take steps to preserve log files and other materials that may have forensic value.