As seen on TV: Hollywood drama hits the cyber-security mark

In a recent episode of a hit TV drama, Russian cyber-terrorists attacked a law firm’s computers and held its files for ransom. In the show, the attorneys couldn’t access any of their files unless they paid the hacker’s $50,000 ransom within 72 hours. While this cyber attack and file-hostage situation made for great TV, it would never happen in real life, would it?

Actually, it does. And it happened recently to one ShareFile customer — ransom note and all!

Fortunately, there was a happy ending for our customer courtesy of ShareFile’s built-for-business product design and outstanding customer care team. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Are you putting your files at risk?

The hacker was able to access this company’s files because an individual user likely clicked on a file downloaded from email, which probably contained a virus. Once downloaded, the file was able to encrypt and compromise the other files.

What do we recommend?

Make sure you are using a storage solution that is built for business and has industry-leading security. Because our customer was using Sync, which constantly synchronizes local files to ShareFile, and had enabled file versioning in ShareFile, all the pre-hijacked files were still available in the cloud.

After the ill-intentioned hijacker encrypted every document with a ransom note (seriously, who does that?!), our customer’s next move was key. Rather than just paying the ransom after contacting the authorities, our customer called the ShareFile customer care team. Within minutes, ShareFile superheroes (at least that’s how our customer now views them) were able to expire the newest version of each file, re-synchronize and voila! They were back in business!

A security breach doesn’t have to be high-profile drama.

Meanwhile on TV, the lawyers ponied up $50,000 to regain access to their essential courtroom files. And even after the hacker received the ransom money, he still didn’t restore access. What!? Sure, this is great TV drama. But just think: If they had been using ShareFile, the outcome would have been very different — and much less expensive.

So here’s the $50,000 question: Are you taking the proper measures to protect your documents from cyber attacks?

About the Author

Adrian Phillips leads product marketing for Citrix ShareFile. With a diverse career dating back to the dot-boom era, his passion is helping customers transform the way they work by using cloud-based technologies. Striving to live a paperless life in Raleigh, N.C., Adrian holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism.