Faster Drive - Security: Malware & Ransomware Protection

Modified on Thu, 11 May 2023 at 05:40 PM

Faster Drive and Clio are extremely resistant to malware and ransomware
While no system can be completely impervious to malware or ransomware, Faster Drive and Clio are extremely resistant to them.  The purpose of this article is to explain how you are protected against these threats.  For the purpose of this article, we will refer to "ransomware" but most of the concepts apply to malware in general.

How Malware Works

Just because you have a computer program "on disk" doesn't mean that it is actually running.  For example, you can have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer ("on disk") without it actually being open.  When Acrobat is only on-disk, it doesn't do anything - it just sits there waiting for you to open it; but once you do, it will allow you to work with PDFs.

Malware operates the same way which is why malware attacks usually have two separate parts.

How Malware Works: the Payload

The payload is the dormant "on disk" part of malware that does bad stuff.  While it does do bad stuff, it needs your help to get started - you have to turn it on by essentially double-clicking its file.  If you have a malware file and you never double-click it, it will just sit on a hard drive, completely dormant, unable to do anything.

How Malware Works: the Cue

The "Cue" is essentially a trick that the malware author plays on you in order to get you to double-click on the payload.  Often times misleading websites and email addresses are used as cues.  For example, you may get a legitimate-looking email from Bob@MyLawFirrn.com telling you to open an attached document.  While it might look legitimate at first glance, upon looking closer, you might realize that the email address actually ends in MyLawFirrn.com instead of MyLawFirm.com.  If you didn't catch it in time and double-clicked the file, the cue worked.

How Malware Works: the Infection

Once you double-click the payload, you have essentially turned on the malware and infected your computer.  The malware isn't dormant anymore and will generally start doing one of the following things:
  • Infecting files that will spread itself
    or
  • Encrypting files with a password that only the hacker has.

In both of the situations above, the malware replaces the original files with altered copies that have been changed in undesirable ways.

When someone uses a legacy file server or similar device, this can be catastrophic to their data - this is why people who have legacy servers often spend lots of money ensuring they have multiple levels of backups that happen frequently.

How Faster Drive and Clio Works

Faster Drive is really just a window into Clio's document management system which is much more robust than a typical server.  Consider the following differences between a file server and Clio
Action
File Server
Clio
When deleting a file, it is...
Immediately Deleted
Soft-Deleted for 30 days
When overwriting a file, the original is...
Permanently Overwritten
Backed up indefinitely
With Clio, every single time a file is changed, the original and the changes are backed up.  This provides a great deal of resistance against malware because the malware cannot actually permanently replace any file.  If a hacker were to encrypt a file stored on Clio, it literally takes just a few seconds to open the previously unencrypted version.  It is super easy.

How safe is Faster Drive / Clio?

The above items make Clio and Faster Drive extremely resistant to ransomware attacks. We have never spoken to or heard of anyone experiencing a ransomware attack on documents stored in Clio or Faster Drive.

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