8 Ransomware-Recovery Insights IT Organizations Should Know

8 Ransomware-Recovery Insights IT Organizations Should Know
What Is Ransomware?
It May Be Subtle, but It's Increasingly Sophisticated
A Multi-Faceted Security Plan Is Required
Enhancing Protection via Perimeter Network Security
Employee Education Is Essential
Build a Robust Backup/Recovery Process
Immutable Snapshots Must Be Part of the Process
Take Snapshots Frequently
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8 Ransomware-Recovery Insights IT Organizations Should Know

IT organizations must be well-prepared to handle ransomware attacks, which are becoming increasingly common. Having a multi-faceted plan is essential.

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What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that silently encrypts data once it is injected into a computer system by a malicious third party. Once a system is infected, the only screen the users are able to see is the hacker's flyer, which tells them how much they need to pay to regain access and how long before the data will be completely erased. In this scenario, existing security measures and traditional efforts for restoring original access via system resets, flashing BIOS or installing new hard drives are ineffective.

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It May Be Subtle, but It's Increasingly Sophisticated

Many versions of ransomware can lie dormant for days or weeks to avoid detection and look to infect network shares in addition to affecting the locally attached hard drives. Recent versions also try to disable recovery options by disabling Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) or encrypting backups to render recovery from traditional backups difficult, if not impossible.

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A Multi-Faceted Security Plan Is Required

A multi-faceted security plan is a must for any IT organization where data is paramount to business operations. Companies and organizations should include perimeter security, intrusion/malware detection and isolation provided by leading antivirus firms along with a robust backup/recovery process with well-defined frequency. Many progressive companies are now relying on storage features, such as immutable snapshots, that make it easier to recover from such attacks.

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Enhancing Protection via Perimeter Network Security

Robust firewalls need to be implemented along with an intrusion-detection system or intrusion-prevention system. A proxy is another form of firewall that can be used to protect web browsing and other internet-capable applications. Additionally, log management systems can provide information that can allow experienced personnel to identify and monitor internal systems.

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Employee Education Is Essential

Training to ensure that employees are aware of the potential security threats helps align the behavior of the employees with the IT organization's security policies. Simple processes set up to alleviate threats for employees in high threat areas can help cut malicious penetration significantly.

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Build a Robust Backup/Recovery Process

A robust backup and recovery process that is regularly tested to recover data quickly—and frequently calibrated so it doesn't negatively affect the normal functioning of the computer systems—is a key component of defending against ransomware. Leveraging a disk-based backup in addition to existing tape infrastructure ensures much faster recovery. Making sure that Microsoft VSS is always enabled allows recovery from previous desktop images.

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Immutable Snapshots Must Be Part of the Process

Snapshots are a storage feature in which the file system creates (automatically or on-demand) a point-in-time copy of data. They are read-only and, therefore, immutable. In the unfortunate situation when ransomware encrypts the data and corrupts the primary file system, the snapshots are unaffected. Users will be able to recover their individual files, folders or complete network shares from these snapshots.

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Take Snapshots Frequently

Recent snapshots should be as granular as possible so that recovery to the latest version of the data is available. The snapshots should be designed so there is no penalty on the normal functioning of the storage system when such granular snapshots are taken. Finally, snapshots should allow recovery of individual files and the entire network shares to give the IT organization complete control over the recovery process.

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