Ransomware Attack Nightmare: A Real-Time Story, How To Mitigate and Recover Quickly 

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In a recent incident, our client encountered a ransomware attack when their employee clicked into a phishing email and it was swiftly addressed proactively by our Cloud Services team. Ransomware attacks can be a significant threat to any organization, but with the right measures in place, they can be effectively mitigated. Here’s a real-time story of a ransomware attack and what we want to share with organizational leaders to help prepare for the reality of a ransomware attack on your organization: 

Ransome attackWhat is Ransomware and Why is it Concerning? 

  • Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the data on a victim’s computer or network and demands a ransom for its decryption. Ransomware can cause severe damage to an organization’s operations, reputation, and finances. It can also expose sensitive information to hackers or public exposure. Ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, targeting businesses of all sizes and sectors. 

How to Minimize the Potential of a Ransomware Attack: 

  • Keeping your systems and software updated with the latest security patches. Ransomware often exploits known vulnerabilities that can be fixed by installing updates. 
  • Using a reputable antivirus program and scan your devices regularly. Antivirus software can detect and remove malware before it causes harm. 
  • Avoiding clicking on suspicious links or opening attachments from unknown sources. Phishing emails are a common way of delivering ransomware to unsuspecting users. Verify the sender and the content of any email before opening it. 
  • Backing up your data frequently and store it in a secure location. In case of a ransomware attack, you can restore your data from a backup without paying the ransom. You can use cloud storage or external hard drives for backup purposes. 
  • Educating you and your employees on the best practices of cybersecurity. Ransomware attacks often rely on human error or negligence. Be aware of the signs and risks of ransomware and how to prevent it. 

Ransomware AttackHow We Helped our Client Mitigate the Impact of their Ransomware Attack: 

  • One such measure was the use of virtual machine (VM) snapshots and Azure Recovery Services Vault, which is part of every Crestwood Cloud ERP deployment. 
  • VM Snapshots  
  • Azure Recovery Services 
  • When restoring VM snapshots from a recovery services vault. This approach allowed the IT team to revert the affected systems to a state before the attack occurred, minimizing downtime and data loss, and preventing any need to pay the attackers for decryption or to prevent a data breach. 

Crestwood’s Real-Time Monitoring and Rapid Responsiveness  

  • The process to mitigate and eliminate the attack with our client began with Crestwood’s real-time detection of the ransomware, which triggered an immediate response from the security team. They quickly isolated the affected systems to prevent the spread of the ransomware. Once isolated, the team assessed the damage and determined the most recent clean snapshots of the VMs. 
  • Fortunately, the organization we were working with had a robust backup strategy (by design), with regular snapshots stored securely in a recovery services vault. These snapshots served as a point-in-time copy of the VMs, which included all the data, applications, and system settings.  Furthermore, the recovery vault uses Microsoft’s new immutable vault property, which prevents backups from being deleted or modified, protecting them from any efforts to destroy them. 

The Best Resolution for Our Client 

  • The restoration process involved retrieving the snapshots from the recovery services vault and using them to restore the VMs. This process was streamlined thanks to the cloud infrastructure’s flexibility and the recovery services vault’s integration with the organization’s virtual environment. 
  • The restored VMs were then thoroughly scanned for any remnants of the ransomware to ensure the systems were clean before being brought back online. This step was crucial to prevent the ransomware from reactivating. 
  • Once the systems were confirmed secure, they were gradually reintroduced into the network. The IT team closely monitored the systems for any unusual activity to ensure the threat was completely neutralized.   

The successful mitigation of the ransomware attack highlighted the importance of having a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy. If you do not have one in place, connect with our team for an assessment of your environment and we’ll be happy to draft a plan for you. 

This experience demonstrated the effectiveness of VM snapshots and a recovery services vault in quickly recovering from such cyber threats and it serves as a reminder for all organizations to regularly review and update their cybersecurity measures, including backup and recovery protocols. By being prepared and having the right tools in place, businesses can protect themselves against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.  

Want to know more about how Crestwood can support your business continuity and disaster recovery strategy? Let’s talk!

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