IBM has an AI SSD that can detect and eradicate ransomware in 60 seconds — but you'd kid yourself if you think you can buy it and plug it in your PC

Representational image of a cybercriminal
Image Credit: Pixabay (Image credit: Pixabay)

IBM has unleashed an AI-powered SSD that can identify and neutralize ransomware threats in under a minute. However, consumers shouldn't expect to purchase this technology for personal use anytime soon.

According to a November 2023 report from TechTarget’s Enterprise Strategy Group, 89% of organizations view ransomware as a top-five existential threat. Further, a 2024 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index report suggests that as the AI market matures, AI itself could become a new attack surface for cybercriminals.

In response to these growing threats, IBM has launched AI-enhanced versions of its FlashCore Module (FCM) technology. FCMs are proprietary flash drives used in IBM FlashSystem 5000 and Storwize arrays that feature real-time detection of ransomware and other attacks.

Making organizations more data resilient

IBM's newly available fourth-generation technology, FCM4, enables AI capabilities within the IBM Storage FlashSystem, meaning it can continuously monitor statistics from every single I/O using machine learning models, reportedly allowing it to detect ransomware, and other threats, in under 60 seconds. The sooner that enterprises can be made aware of attacks, the sooner they can take action, potentially resulting in faster recovery. 

Incorporated into new IBM Storage FlashSystem products and a new version of IBM Storage Defender software, these tools aim to improve organizations' abilities to detect and respond to a wide range of cyber threats.

The IBM Storage Defender software incorporates Cohesity’s DataProtect and Index Engines’ CyberSense, and promises end-to-end data resilience in hybrid multi-cloud IT environments. This new version expands the software’s threat detection capabilities to make it much more useful and, in IBM’s own words, “help build trustworthiness of copies as a baseline for teams to begin recovery from cyberattacks”.

Sam Werner, VP, IBM Storage Product Management says, “Individually, both FlashSystem and Defender have capabilities that can help make organizations more data resilient, but they’re even better together. For example, storage administrators can now create protection groups that include specific volumes and are automatically backed up according to user-defined policies. Immutable copies of data  can now be restored or recovered to multiple target locations, including different locations when recovering from a cyberattack. Plus, immutable copies can be replicated to another IBM Storage Defender cluster for an additional layer of protection.“ 

Blocks and Files points out that while popular SSD suppliers such as Micron, Samsung, and Western Digital could add similar AI-scanning of SSD IOs in real time, they would need to send the attack alerts upstream to some system management resource in order to respond to the alerts. That’s not a problem for IBM as Storage Defender is that resource for its customers.

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.