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|30.8.2017||Posted by Zdziarski under Auto-moto|
PC World told El Reg that 30 days of historic backups should have been available through KnowHow cloud but this is contradicted by the victim herself, who said only two backup points, each from the same day she was infected with the CryptoWall ransomware, were available.El Reg heard about Amy’s woes after a friend of hers got in touch with us and pointed us towards a post (extract below) about her experiences on PC World’s Facebook page earlier this month.Yesterday an email came through which i opened (it was from what looked like a completely standard email address) a virus flooded my laptop instantly corrupting all my files and saved documents getting pass my antivirus, I was thankful for my cloud. I had someone look at it and eventually completely remove the virus but i had to completely reboot and reset my laptop after, i would lose Microsoft Office but I could cope with that.
We logged on to my cloud and to my horror it had updated all my documents to the corrupted version, I was sure it would be ok so phoned Knowhow thinking i would be able to restore from a different date.Knowhow told me it automatically over writes documents and doesn’t keep revisions of older documents and backups. I have lost everything, years of work and important documents that I’ve worked hard for gone. I was so shocked they don’t offer this, even my IPhone lets me select dates i want to restore from.
Do not rely on Knowhow completely, I would have happily purchased a hard dive but was advised this would be enough. Google drive is good too as it keeps revisions. I’m Gutted!!PC World suggested that Amy’s machine might have been infected with the ransomware for weeks before she discovered the problem, a suggestion she strongly denied.It was Cryptowall, Amy said. It came through as an invoice. It wanted me to pay £1000 to get a key to unlock files and the price doubled every 14 days.“I know exactly where the virus came from and had it removed the day it hit my laptop,” Amy told El Reg. “The ransomware had been on my laptop for a matter of hours when it was removed and I contacted Knowhow that evening the same day.”“30 days worth of back up was definitely not available for me to access from my end, I had a choice of two times on the same day, one being when they had backed up with the corrupted files and one later in the day when my laptop had been reset,” she added.Chris Boyd, a senior malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, said that the case illustrates the wider potential shortcomings of cloud-based backups as a defence against ransomware.“In general, cloud backup is another useful tool to help ward off the threat of ransomware, but isn’t applicable in all situations,” Boyd told El Reg. “Individuals and businesses may rightly balk at uploading potentially sensitive documents into the cloud where they suddenly have no control over it, and should look into file encryption of their own to ensure nothing valuable leaks.”
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“Offline backups would be the best way to go, especially as you have full control over the data at all times. Not all cloud backup hosts offer the ability to roll back to specific dates, which is a disaster in situations where malware butts heads with an automatic upload. Off-the-shelf backup solutions are fine for most things, but should go hand in hand with a layered approach which could include AV [anti-virus], anti-malware and exploit protection,” he added.Asked what expectation its customers reasonably have about the capabilities of KnowHow cloud in mitigating against the growing problem of ransomware attacks, Dixons Carphone (PC World’s parent firm) said its system keeps 30 days of backups by default. PC World is clear in saying that customers shouldn’t rely on its cloud backup service in isolation while simultaneously saying it offers a safety net – one that seems to have failed in Amy’s case, at least.Our cloud service automatically backs up a customer’s machine and keeps on file 30 days of previous back-ups which is why we are able to restore this customer’s data.
Essentially this means that any file back up has 30 different back up version any of which the customer could restore from even if an encrypted file has been backed up. However if a customer had not noticed they had a virus for more than 30 days all of the previous day versions would have also been back up as an encrypted file.The back up servers as a matter of course run daily virus and malware scans however these files would not be identified as suspicious as they were not a virus threat themselves.To ensure total protection a customer would also need to run a form for anti virus / malware software on their machine to ensure no threats occur initially.El Reg also asked for a response to Amy’s criticism in general – and the point that older files were over-written so she couldn’t back up to the last known safe point – in particular. We haven’t had a satisfactory explanation on this point as yet.
Media interest in the case, or perhaps her own dogged efforts to raise the issue on social media, meant that Amy was recently referred to PC World’s Cloud services team, members of which made a spirited go at restoring her files.Amy praised the efforts of PC World staff in attempts to restore her files despite only partial success on this front.“PC World have been nothing but helpful since I had contact with them last Friday, we have managed to save a few files,” she told us. “Although it seems to have been a struggle and definitely not something I could have restored myself.” Analysis UK Chancellor George Osborne’s budget may have provided a sprinkling of sweeteners for businesses and middle class savers alongside the headline-grabbing sugar tax last week, but details on digital infrastructure plans were distinctly lacking.No mention was made of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) in the 148-page document, which David Cameron promised last year would give everybody the legal right to request a broadband connection capable of delivering a minimum speed of 10Mbps by 2020.At the moment providers remain in the dark as to whether connecting the last five per cent of the country will be a publicly funded project, much like the previous Broadband UK (BDUK) scheme from 2012.According to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, £680m will be spent on providing connectivity to 95 per cent of premises by the end of 2017. Yet, given the budget’s radio silence on the USO, it might be reasonable to speculate that if money were to be set aside for the project we’d know about it by now.One alternative for creating a dedicated pot of cash for the scheme, is the introduction of a levy on providers – although it has been pointed out that this may be unfair for smaller urban-based providers. It is also unclear whether consumers would pick up the bill.
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It also remains uncertain what tech will be deployed to reach the final five per cent. Speaking in front of a select committee last week, BT’s chief exec Gavin Patterson said that if the company were tasked with providing a fibre rich deployment under the USO, it would cost up to £2bn. Such a move would not yield a return on investment for BT, he said, noting that a cheaper option would cost hundreds of millions of pounds and include 4G and satellite broadband.Certainly a strategy that offers a range of options for connectivity, and – crucially – a range of providers, is one a number of observers seem to favour.Chair of the Internet Service Providers’ Association Chair James Blessing said a number of its providers are already working toward this goal: ISPA supports the objective of a USO, especially in the hardest to reach areas where commercial rollout is challenging. As we await government’s consultation, it is important that the process is open, technology neutral and does not negatively impact existing networks.But Labour MP Chi Onwurah, a former head of telecoms technology at Ofcom, warned that the absence of a strategy could lead to a repetition of what she’s sees as BDUK’s mistake of hav63ng one just one supplier responsible for the roll-out.