May/June 2020

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Ransomware as a Data Breach: An Evolving Threat

Sharon D. Nelson & John W. Simek

It is hard to believe there was such a thing as “the good old days of ransomware,” but we might be forgiven for looking back nostalgically. While ransomware was a bloody nuisance, law firms generally felt protected if they had a well-engineered backup system to facilitate recovery.

With multiple backups, usually in the cloud, or (with small firms) on two or more external USB drives, you could ignore the badgering requests to pay the ransom, the clocks counting down to when your data would be totally inaccessible, etc.

The trick was always to have multiple backups so that a single backup solution didn’t leave you vulnerable to having all your data encrypted if you were struck by ransomware while backing up. Having that “virgin” backup meant you could restore the data. This, of course, assumes that you regularly performed test restores on your backups to make sure you could indeed restore data from them.

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