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Here's why tape could be your best shot at defeating ransomware

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(Image credit: Avast)
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Linear tape-open, or LTO tape is, most likely, every organization’s best bet against ransomware. A new report from IDC claims that LTO tape inherently comes with five key features, all of which are essential in the fight against threats. 

The report states that, for starters, LTO tape comes with government-grade encryption built-in. As the encryption is at the hardware level, it can be implemented without sacrificing performance, while the tapes would be rendered useless to anyone without the encryption key.

Then, the tab on the tape’s cartridges makes them “write once, read many times” immutable: “. Data may be read, but it cannot be changed or deleted by anyone who does not have physical access to the media,” the report states.

Tape advantages

Furthermore, there’s the advantage of the air gap, as the removal of tapes from a library eliminates the physical connectivity. According to the paper, physical access is the easiest, lowest-cost, and most fail-safe means of establishing an air gap.

Finally, the tapes can be used as part of the 3-2-1-1 backup method, and can be scanned upon restore to detect and delete malware.

Besides these five advantages, there’s also long-term retention (LTO media is allegedly certified for up to 30 years for data retention integrity), low total cost of ownership, and the ability to rapidly restore data. 

The paper’s author concludes that ransomware is too big and too lucrative to be abandoned, meaning businesses need to take all the reasonable steps (including proper backup software) to prevent the attack from happening in the first place.

“Magnetic tape is an established, understood, and proven technology that can be an invaluable tool for defeating ransomware,” Goodwin concludes. “LTO tape is unique in its ability to meet all five best practices for addressing ransomware and giving organizations the best chance of recovery and avoiding the consequences of an attack.”

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.