Large University Expels Ransomware Attack with Code42

A staple in the surrounding community and one of the most respected educational and research institutions in the United States, the university has a deep history of excellence to uphold. For such a storied southern university with more than 13,000 students, protecting the sheer amount of faculty, alumni and student data is a cumbersome task. The IT department, which is made up of around 100 employees, turned to Code42 to make sure the right backup solution was in place in case of an attack.

With Code42, the university primarily backs up VIPs, such as the CTO, CEO and anyone higher up in the organization. “Typically they travel a lot and so they have laptops and a lot of times they have important data on their laptops. So we’re using Code42 backup to make sure no matter where they are we still are protecting all that data,” said a systems administrator at the university.

Passing the ransomware test

A VIP user in the human resources department called the help desk after a pop up appeared on her computer. Unable to remotely access the computer, the university sent desktop support personnel to examine the machine. Once help arrived, they realized a hacker was trying to cheat the system with a ransomware attack, claiming they needed a payment of three Bitcoin (at that time worth about $1,000) before returning sensitive data.

Learning about ransomware for the first time, the university didn’t know if there was anything they could do. Unwilling to waiver on paying the ransom, the university reached out to the IT departments’ systems administrator tasked with handling backups. Because the infected user was enrolled as a VIP on Code42, the systems administrator was able to restore her computer with an automatic, continuous and near real-time backup of all endpoint data.

“Code42 runs in the background. They don’t even realize it’s there. When they do reach out to us we can easily push a restore out to them, some of them can restore it themselves. It’s very easy to restore from. It’s really just peace of mind,” said the systems administrator. In the future, the university plans on expanding rolling out Code42 to the research community and additional staff, as well as implementing more security measures.

This isn’t an instance that only affected this university. Employee laptops and desktops are soft targets for ransomware. If a company is unable to reconstruct what existed on the device after a data incident, it may result in brand repercussions to class-action lawsuits or regulatory fines. By using Code42, it provides the data and tools needed to recover and avoid paying the ransom. Every time.