Real-life ransomware recovery stories offer valuable insights into the challenges and strategies used to overcome ransomware attacks. These stories underscore the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures and incident response plans. Cybersecurity threats have been persistent for many years, yet surprisingly, very few individuals believe they could be the next victims.
Here are a few notable examples:
- Major Software Utility (May 2023): A Major software utility which integrates with a multitude of IT Management Services was infiltrated by malware used to steal sensitive information. A wide range of organizations in the public and private sector used the program to move sensitive personal identity and financial data. That includes financial services companies, government agencies, pension funds and more. In May 2023, a hacker group called CL0P gained access to the software database/information. Since then, Reuters reports that the hack has impacted tens of millions of people.
- Large Telecom Provider (Jan 2023): A Leading telecommunication company said a “bad actor” accessed personal data from 37 million current customers in a November 2022 data breach and identified in Jan 2023. the company said the hacker stole customer data that included names, billing addresses, emails, phone numbers, dates of birth, account numbers and information describing the kind of service they have with the wireless carrier.
- Enterprise World Wise IT vender (July 2021): The REvil ransomware gang targeted an American software company, which provides IT management solutions. The attack had a widespread impact, affecting numerous managed service providers and their clients. software company worked closely with cybersecurity experts to develop a decryption tool, allowing affected businesses to recover their data without paying the ransom. This was a very rare outcome in terms of data recovery.
- Worldwide Food Processer (June 2021): One of the world’s largest meat processors, fell victim to a ransomware attack by the REvil group. The company paid an $11 million ransom to restore operations, but U.S. law enforcement took action to recover part of the ransom. This case highlighted the risks associated with paying ransoms and the need for strong incident response plans.
- A Major Pipeline (May 2021): One of the most significant ransomware attacks of 2021, The attack disrupted the fuel supply chain on the U.S. East Coast. The company paid a ransom of $4.4 million to the DarkSide ransomware gang. However, the U.S. Department of Justice managed to recover a significant portion of the ransom in Bitcoin, emphasizing the potential legal consequences for ransomware actors.
- Major US City (2019): In 2019, a city fell victim to the RobbinHood ransomware attack. The city initially refused to pay the ransom demand of approximately $76,000. Instead, they chose to rebuild their systems and restore data from backups. While the recovery process was time-consuming and costly, it demonstrated the importance of backups and the potential downsides of paying ransoms. Deploying a solution such as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRAS) would have helped mitigate the impact of this event.
- Large Manufacturer (2019): A global metals producer, experienced a widespread ransomware attack called LockerGoga. Rather than paying the ransom, the company opted to restore its systems from backups. Their transparent communication and swift recovery efforts earned them praise for their resilience in the face of a significant cyber incident.
- Large Logistics company (June 2017): A major shipping and logistics company was impacted by the NotPetya ransomware attack. The attack disrupted operations on a global scale, but the logistics company refused to pay the ransom. Instead, they rebuilt their entire IT infrastructure, incurring a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. The incident highlighted the importance of cyber resilience and business continuity planning. Deploying a solution such as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRAS) would have helped in reducing the overall impact and cost of this event.
These real-life ransomware recovery stories illustrate the varied approaches organizations take when faced with a ransomware attack. While some opt to pay ransoms to expedite recovery, others emphasize resilience, backups, and legal action to mitigate the impact of such attacks. The key takeaway is the importance of robust cybersecurity measures, proactive incident response plans, and the potential legal consequences for both victims and ransomware actors in today’s cybersecurity landscape.
By Scott Kalcic | December 19th, 2023 | Enterprise Services