Taking No Prisoners

The Scourge Of Ransomware: Phones, Wallets And The Vulnerability Paradox

You cannot see what is invisible. Nor can you understand its full implications. Our reliance on data is such that we have become physical manifestations of it; people, companies and industries can be reconstructed as ever-increasing archives of information. Yes, data brings confidence in thought and action, but with universal connectivity comes the undertow of a global threat, a darker side of exploitation, blackmail and ransom.

For Sal De Masi, Global Director, Data Protection Solutions, Teknicor, ransomware is trying to compromise your data, every moment of each day, “Anything that has an operating system, anything that is connected to the Internet, is vulnerable; geography is not a factor.” But ransomware’s malice is not in its theft of valuable data, that is just the means. Its purpose is extortion, literally holding people ransom until due payment is made. And it is successful. According to Sal, “The criminals behind the attacks are sophisticated, creative and without remorse.” He continues, “The majority of ransomware attacks are triggered by exposures within organizations, where inadequate technology solutions and architectures are unable to help restore the data.” In an attack, the first thing a company will do is resurrect from the last known backup. Knowing that, the ransomware targets backups. When that happens, there is only one out: paying.

“Anything that has an operating system, anything that is connected to the Internet, is vulnerable; geography is not a factor.”

Herein lies the paradox. Sal makes clear that if anything, “Paying a ransom proves you’re vulnerable.” The malicious software could have left other doors open that allow it to come back later and re-infect the system, perpetuating the cycle in the process. A lack of robust architecture and pragmatic advice leave companies misguided and shrouded in the illusion of security. So, what can be done? Putting the question to Sal, his answer is immediate, “Most companies approach their customers as either ‘service’ builders or external implementation arms, while Teknicor architects, builds, designs, deploys, and supports our best-of-breed solutions: we are infrastructure experts, we have the appropriate partnerships, and we offer a full spectrum of solutions. The difference is clear.”

Process is matched by substance. Teknicor subdues an invisible threat with an incognito defence. Using Dell’s DDBoost architecture, Teknicor effectively detaches backups from the operating system and keeps them masked. Elaborating on his defence model, Sal says, “There are three lines of defence, the outermost run by the customer and the inner two are enabled by us. We use a hybrid system: a combination of Dell EMC Data Protection technologies that allow a blend of configurations designed to meet business DTO’s, RTO’s and RPO’s”. Sal’s model accounts for both continuous and historic availability; it is what enabled Teknicor to resurrect multiple customers from attach, without a loss of data or paying ransoms, and it is proving integral to their continued protection moving forward.

There are three lines of defence, the outermost run by the customer and the inner two are enabled by us.

Data is a complex thing. For Sal, “10 years ago, losing your wallet was a complete crisis, but today, if presented with the choice, you would rather lose that than your phone.” We’ve come to the point where priorities have shifted in the collective consciousness. This is true for the individual and the company. That’s why Teknicor has a host of data protection solutions that move past ransomware to ensure a strong core infrastructure, business continuity, prompt disaster recovery and professional support. Data is precious; it means everything to everybody at any given time. The question is: what are you willing to pay for it?