Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their files by encrypting the user’s files until a ransom is paid. While ransomware attacks are a constant danger for the average user on the internet, they can be even more devastating for businesses. With hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ransomware attacks, it’s almost impossible for any company with limited resources to adopt the strictest measures to block 100% of these attacks.
However, as malicious as ransomware is, it can only attack the present and not the past. File Versioning and Rapid Recovery is the most practical and effective way to protect your data, even in the unfortunate event of a successful ransomware attack.
Ransomware threats are exponentially growing and will continue to attack businesses. In the 2021 Global Threat Report, there was an 82% increase in ransomware-related data leaks. In the State of Ransomware 2022 report, 46% of the organizations stated that they paid the ransom to restore data, and only 61% of those who paid actually got their data back. With such disheartening statistics as this, effectively countering ransomware is an absolute must for businesses.
Cybercriminals often send emails containing a malicious link or attached file, which then deploys the malware once recipients click the link or download the file. Cybercriminals may also compromise a victim’s email account by using precursor malware, which enables them to use a recipient’s email to spread the malicious link to others.
Ransomware may be installed on target PCs by cybercriminals by exploiting security holes in commonly used software or applications. Application Programming Interfaces (API) allow software programs to communicate with each other and could introduce a software vulnerability because of this communication.
To make data accessible to employees from a business network, file servers and NAS devices either connect directly to a router or make files available over the internet. Therefore, file servers and NAS are common targets for cybercriminals. Recently, a ransomware group, DeadBolt, targeted and attacked QNAP NAS devices.
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is one of the main protocols used for remote access allowing employees to access or control their office desktop computers from another device over the internet. Cybercriminals use brute-force methods to obtain user credentials or purchase credentials on the dark-web marketplace. Once they have RDP access, cybercriminals can then deploy ransomware to victim systems.
A high amount of malware was supplied via phishing emails. As a baseline of defense against malware and ransomware, users must be more skeptical of emails. We always recommend not clicking links found in emails or texts unless you’re 100% sure they’re secure. However, even links sent from sources you may trust could be malicious due to the scammer’s ingenuity in spoofing another identity.
Protect backups from ransomware by intercepting viruses before they get onto your backup server. Once the backup copy has been infected, it’s effectively useless. Even if the ransomware can’t or doesn’t activate on the backup drive itself, it will simply reinfect the protected device when you restore the backup.
Ensure your applications, software, and operating systems are running up-to-date versions. Most operating systems and applications include settings to automatically download and install security updates.
The recovery cost is one of the most impactful consequences of a ransomware attack on businesses. This includes expenses related to the restoration of encrypted files and systems, payment of the ransom (if the organization decides to comply), and hiring cybersecurity experts to investigate the attack and implement preventative measures against future attacks. Here are the two methods to backup your files:
A tape backup is a traditional data protection procedure that uses magnetic tape or any tape cartridge as a storage device. Because it is a labor-intensive process, labor and material costs can add up quickly. A tape backup will also require a longer recovery time retrieving from both full and incremental backup tapes.
A disk backup is a data backup and recovery method that stores data to a hard disk storage with the backup system. Similar to tape backups, the cost of disk backups can be high as they require frequent maintenance and offsite backup overhead. There is also a substantial recovery effort if the file system and backup systems are not fully integrated.
An often-unrecognized challenge of the conventional backup is how to ensure it is, in fact, a “good backup.” Sometimes this will only be discovered at the time of recovery e.g., the recovery is unsuccessful because the backup copy is bad. Of course, that’s the absolute worst time a backup copy could fail.
Having File Versioning and Rapid Recovery is the best policy against ransomware attacks. Instead of a labor intense process requiring secure storage and/or consistent maintenance, File Versioning automatically backs up all of your data with a version history. If a ransomware attack is successful and locks you out of the file, it’s as easy as a click to recover an unaffected version from a time before the attack. It’s fast, simple, and cost-effective.
Morro Data’s cloud-centric global file services provides file sync, lock, transfer, and caching across multiple sites. Interfaces supported include SMB (Windows, Mac) and Web with ACL. At each site, users can see unlimited file system presented as a single namespace.
File Versioning is a key protection from the Morro global file system. Versioning is the equivalent of recording the changes of a file on film as opposed to taking snapshots at various points in the file’s history. This type of versioning allows users to restore to any point in time. The recovery can be at the share, folder, or file level and only meta data needs to be restored.
File Versioning also means backup and restore functions are integrated with the file system. Customizable versioning policy includes unlimited versions allowing recovery to any point in time.
Snapshot backups are primarily used to roll back the whole file system or complete share at pre-defined intervals. Compared to snapshots, as shown in the diagram below, Morro File Versioning is more fine-grained as it is able to recover to the very last file version, version 3 indicated below, before a ransomware attack, while a snapshot can only recover to version 1.
What about innocent human errors? In reality, IT would have to deal with many more users’ human errors compared with outside attacks. These human errors such as inadvertently deleting files and folders can happen on a daily basis and may not be discovered until much later. In such recovery scenarios, File Versioning is much more flexible than the snapshots. While the snapshots normally apply at the whole file system or share level, File Versioning can work on a per file or per folder basis. With File Versioning, files and folders can be easily recovered without considering how the recovery may affect the other parts of the file system. In other words, File Versioning is a much more effective protection to recover from human errors.
Modern IT is increasingly comprised of platforms. The scope and characteristics of the platforms determine the operational efficiency of the organization. Morro Data is a platform for file services, abstracting disks, volumes, and even the backup of the files. While you can’t always prevent ransomware attacks or human errors, with Morro Data File Versioning and Rapid Recovery, you will never be locked out of your files or lose valuable data.