PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
You might be wondering: How could you possibly stand a chance against ransomware, when even huge multinational companies are vulnerable to their attacks?
Although due diligence and a little common sense would go a long way in situations such as this, it really wouldn’t hurt to invest in an additional safety net – regardless of whether it’s a basic antivirus solution, or a comprehensive backup and data protection suite.
In fact, some cybersecurity companies, such as Kaspersky, have even taken the initiative to develop a free standalone anti-ransomware tool for businesses to safeguard their systems. The Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool for Business works by detecting suspicious ransomware activities, creating a temporary backup of files that have been compromised, and rolling back any malicious changes that have been made, thus leaving them unaffected.
While we’re on the topic of backups, we recently had the opportunity to speak to Raymond Goh, the Head of Systems Engineering for Asia and Japan at Veeam Software, to learn more about the increasingly alarming ransomware threat, and how backup and availability solutions are able to prevent them from wreaking havoc on computer systems.
How is Veeam able to protect businesses and enterprises from ransomware?
If there’s one thing that has the attention of the world in recent months, it is the threat of ransomware. In the last few months, we have seen frequent headlines on outages caused by ransomware, and the reality is that it isn’t going to stop any time soon. It will continue to be a problem for organizations of all sizes.
At Veeam, we have taken ransomware seriously for a while now. We’ve incorporated features into our products, as well as started recommending technical practices and designs to provide resiliency to recover from an outage, should there be an incident.
We took an additional step and tried to quantify ransomware incidents, and some of the information we gathered was shocking. If anyone thinks that ransomware is just a PC problem, it is not – it can be a datacenter problem as well.
What makes Veeam different compared to other endpoint security solutions and anti-ransomware software? Is one better or more effective than the other when it comes to protecting devices from ransomware?
First of all, the ransomware incidents can take place on a variety of platforms, including PCs, datacenter workloads, and more. And unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Here’s my advice to all Chief Information Officers (CIOs) on how to build resiliency against ransomware: (a) Design with a ransomware attack in mind, this will help the mitigation process. (b) Get your entire IT team on the task of thinking about ransomware, and the steps that need to be taken should there be an attack. (c) Have the necessary tools in place for
prevention. (d) Ensure that the Availability strategy is there, in case a last line of defense is needed. Every ransomware prevention expert or organization that has successfully made it through a ransomware attack will point to their backup saving the day. (e) Invest in ransomware education for
What should be the first course of action if a system was to get locked down by ransomware? What should you do, and what should you refrain from doing?
At Veeam, we believe that a rock-solid data protection plan is the best form of protection against ransomware.
If a system was to be affected by ransomware, the only way to get out of that is backup and restore. This is not just meant to negate ransomware – it’s data protection hygiene.
What you should refrain from doing is succumbing to the attackers and paying the ransom, as it won’t necessarily guarantee the release of your data. Furthermore, knowing that they’ve found someone who’s willing to pay would increase the chances of them striking again.
Are there any preemptive measures that organizations can take to prevent their data from being held hostage by ransomware?
Start using the 3-2-1 backup rule, which recommends you to have three different copies of your media on two different media types, with one copy being stored offsite. This is great because it can address nearly any failure scenario and doesn’t require any specific technology to implement.
In the ransomware era, it’s a good idea to add another ‘1’ at the end of the rule, which is done by storing a media offline.
It appears that the recent bout of ransomware attacks were specifically targeted at large international companies such as Maersk, the Danish shipping company, and WPP, the British advertising firm. Should the average consumer have anything to worry about?
As mentioned above, data protection hygiene is something every organization, of any size should be thinking about. As consumers, our digital assets are at risk as well. The best way to fight ransomware is to have good backups.