Quantum has a cunning plan to shield tape from ransomware attacks

tape storage
(Image credit: Shutterstock / kubais)

Data storage and management company Quantum Corporation has launched a new feature that’s designed to help protect data stored on tape systems against network-borne threats such as ransomware.

Dubbed the Scalar Ransom Block, the feature is touted as an industry-first, and is designed to safeguard Quantum’s Scalar tape systems from the risk of unauthorized data access over the network. 

“Tape storage systems are a critical part of building cyber-resilient infrastructures, both for large archives and as part of a comprehensive data protection strategy. However, even data stored on tapes can be compromised if the tape library itself is hacked, which is why we designed these new features in partnership with a large cloud provider,” shared Jamie Lerner, chairman and CEO of Quantum.

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According to the company, the new solution protects data by literally creating a hardware “block” between data stored on tapes, and every network-connected device including the robotic tape system. 

Block attacks

While cloud storage, cloud backup and large-capacity drives are suitable for storing data in the short term, when it comes to archival storage, there’s no beating magnetic tapes. 

Furthermore, Quantum argues that tape systems are inherently more secure than storage systems based on hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SSD) since the data stored on tape is not connected to the network. However, tape systems are still prone to remote attacks since the tape library itself is a network connected device.

As tapes stored in a library sit in a magazine, Quantum’s Scalar Ransom Block feature, partially ejects the magazine, making the tapes inaccessible until an operator physically re-inserts the magazine.

The feature can be triggered remotely with a click of a button and helps ensure that the data stored on tape is completely offline.

According to Quantum, the new feature is expected to be available on its Scalar i6 and Scalar i3 tape libraries in December 2021.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.