Ransomware: Vembu’s Got You Covered



In this, the third article in our series investigating the benefits of Vembu BDR for Virtualized Environments, we examine Vembu’s backup capabilities. We all know that backing up your data is only one part of the equation. The ability to recover is the other, and arguably more important, part especially in this age of ransomware. This is where Vembu BDR really shines.

Once again, you are sitting in your cube, monitoring your environment. OK, playing Gorf. All is calm in the world, and you are still riding the crest of your wave of success at saving your company’s year end. You are content.

You look up, and there is Steve. Now, Steve is one of your best customers—and by “best customers,” I mean pain-in-the-neck users. High enough up the corporate ladder to be dangerous to you and your career, but as computer literate as a drunken monkey. For once, he looks quite sheepish and reticent.

You ask in your usual witty way, “Hey Steve, what can I do you for?”

However, instead of offering his usual pithy response, he replies, “I think I have done something silly. You know those adverts that tell you your computer is unprotected?” Your aura of calmness is suddenly replaced by a feeling of impending doom. “Well, I was working on the presentation for the CEO’s earnings announcement, when I installed an update. I had to do a reboot. Now I can’t access any files, and I am being pointed to a website to buy some bitcoins to have my data released. It there anything you can do to help me? I’m desperate. The boss wants this presentation by the end of the day. And now I’ll have to start it all over again.” It seems that Steve has managed to get his Mac infected with ransomware. This is a particularly nasty virus that encrypts your data files and then “offers” to decrypt them for a price, usually in bitcoins.

You ask the hundred-dollar question: “When did you start working on the file?”

“Straight after year end,” he replies.

You smile. Steve is saved. You have Vembu NetworkBackup and OnlineBackup. These products allow you to back up files like Office data files and Outlook PSTs, etc., to your Vembu backup server or even directly to the Vembu Cloud. Now, unlike products such as Veeam Endpoint Backup, which only allows backup of data from Windows-based desktops, Vembu NetworkBackup and OnlineBackup give you the ability to back up Linux and, more importantly to Steve, Mac devices.

You quickly clean the ransomware virus off Steve’s MacBook, preventing any further contagion, but obviously the damage has already been done and files are still encrypted. Again, you have no worries: you just log on to your Vembu management interface and set your restore in process. One of the better things about OnlineBackup and NetworkBackup is that, unlike most other backup products, there is no requirement to map a drive to the target machine to run the recovery. This means that there is no chance that the backup repository could inadvertently be encrypted if you have forgotten to clear the original infection prior to carrying out your file restore. You ask Steve whether any other files have been encrypted and ascertain when he last accessed them, so for good measure you recover his entire “My Documents” folder’s contents.

Twenty minutes later, Steve takes his cleaned and ransomware-free Mac back to his desk and successfully completes his PowerPoint for the CEO. You go back to your game of Gorf.

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Tom Howarth
Tom Howarth is an IT Veteran of over 20 years experience and is the owner of PlanetVM.Net Ltd, Tom is a moderator of the VMware Communities forum. He is a contributing author on VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment, and the forthcoming vSphere a Quick Guide. He regularly does huge virtualization projects for enterprises in the U.K. and elsewhere in EMEA. Tom was Elected vExpert for 2009 and each subsequent year thereafter.

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