Companies like Disney and Netflix are having productions hacked and held to ransom. Even smaller companies like Object Matrix, a founder of WIG and sponsor of our data security event, had emails, supposedly from the CEO, requesting bank transfers from the CFO. Everyone everywhere is at risk of falling victim to the cyber crime that is very much on the rise and gaining power.
Media Production companies are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks because many of them keep all, or a significant portion, of their information assets in very few places.
Take this scenario. Your storage provider was running a great deal for you if you just buy one huge NAS device. Not minding the future, you decided to consolidate the bulk of your information onto that single solution. A hacker compromises a PC with access to the NAS / SAN and that PC happens to have access to a large number of files. It could be a disgruntled employee or a kid in a bedroom 2,000 miles away, but now the hacker runs an encrypt or destroy app. It doesn’t need to take long. A targeted application doesn’t need to encrypt every byte – just enough to make the files it touches unreadable. And too, therefore, lock them. Just for added measure, it encrypts the well-known metadata controller of your storage device. And, now it destroys itself. Getting an unencrypted key is nigh-impossible. Hey, presto. Your millions of dollars of assets are now under ransom, but for just one of those millions, you might get an unlock key. If you are “lucky”.
But strategies to defeat this type of hack are possible. Firstly, disaster recovery systems, replication, and back-up are key to being able to get data back if this occurs. But a deep and clever hack attack may target those systems as well. Care must be taken not to backup or replicate the hacked data. Another challenge is that as a large media producer handling potentially Petabytes of data, backing up everything is sometimes…, well let’s say “asynchronous”. That is to say, a subset of the data might not yet be backed up.
Another strategy is to keep your data behind a firewall. A very strong firewall. And then to only let out copies of data that are for (e.g.,) media editing, checking back in edited versions. This is the strategy promoted by object storage when it sits behind an object storage API.
Needless to say, these attacks are preventable given the correct security measures are being carried out. No-one needs to leave the door open for hackers to stroll in in an attempt to create chaos in an industry that is solely focused on providing entertainment to the masses.