Ontrack is assisted by NetApp’s technology to solve a ransomware infection.

Written By: Ontrack

Date Published: 15 August 2022 21:23:53 EDT

Ontrack is assisted by NetApp’s technology to solve a ransomware infection.

A single user’s laptop at a large pharmaceutical company was infected with CryptoLocker ransomware.

This malware encrypts the user’s files and withholds the encryption key until you pay the ransom amount. The laptop was connected to the corporate network which allowed the malware to infect a CIFS volume which was set up as a file share on a NetApp FAS. The malware was able to infiltrate the file share and encrypt the majority of the files. The IT team was not notified of the infection until after the backup retention period had expired, meaning that the backup contained only encrypted data. The total impact resulted in inaccessible data on:

  • 46 drives
  • 1 aggregate
  • 1 volume infected on a RAID-DP

To perform the recovery, the aggregate needed to be taken offline, which affected 17 volumes in total.

The customer brought their 46 drives into our New Jersey lab for evaluation and Ontrack engineers got to work on a solution.

The engineering team from Ontrack:

  • Virtually rebuilt the RAID groups which were strewn across 10 different shelves
  • Virtually rebuilt the aggregate
  • Virtually rebuilt the critical volume

An additional challenge on this recovery was that the aggregate was in use for two weeks after the incident occurred which resulted in some data being overwritten.

Ontrack was able to virtually rebuild the volume containing the CIFS share and encrypted data.

Leveraging NetApp’s proprietary OS (OnTap) and file system (WAFL), Ontrack engineers used multiple consistency points to “walk back” in time to find and merge unencrypted copies of the critical data to return to the customer. This type of ransomware recovery is only possible on storage like NetApp’s FAS because of the way the data is stored on the volume.


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