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ATPC hit with Ransomware, does not pay demand

On February 15, 2017: a company called ATPC (the Alternate Text Production Center) was hit with a ransomware strain. The E-mail that was sent to me indicated multiple things that I would like to highlight in this ever important effort on continuing education on the epidemic.

  • First, they had backups of everything that was currently set to be produced. While clients uploaded files through a protocol called FTP, the company did have a policy in place about this access they needed to change after this epidemic.
  • Next, the notice was very straight forward in what happened, steps they took to mitigate the attack, and what they were doing to make sure that it didn’t impact them like this again.

Here is a baseline of what they said.

  • The FTP server had files up there, and the policy indicated that it was for short term storage. These files are small, even though they were books to be sent in braille or electronically to customers.
  • They made sure all files were backed up in multiple locations so if a file they needed to send either in braille or electronically was infected, they had clean copies. This was the most important step in this process. If you have read Most Companies Still Willing To Pay Ransom To Recover Data, Survey Shows you will know that most companies have no choice. Just look at this LAVC update that I posted after my first post on that which asks Are schools next in the cyber race? I really think this step was important.
  • They sent out a notice to their customers. This is very important as you want them to know that you know about the issue, and what you’re doing about it. They don’t want to find out after the fact. LAVC called and E-mailed us, and even braught in experts which advised they should pay. LAVC is a lot larger than ATPC, but ATPC notified their customers and prevented that whole mess.

The points I’ve made and links to the articles should highlight that ATPC has done the right thing, and they are a small business. I don’t think there is any other way of doing this without having to pay like LAVC did, and that took out their Internet and phone systems. While a few files were lost, they were easily retrieved elsewhere. This is a perfect case of something that went wrong, and the perfect solution to a very complex systematic problem of keeping us safe.

Each ransomware case is different, but hopefully, we can learn from this textbook case. Thoughts? Get in touch.

More information: Alternate Text Production Center

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ATPC hit with Ransomware, does not pay demand was released on March 27, 2017 at 8:30 am by tech in article commentary.
Last modified: March 26, 2017.

Comments (2)

  1. Comment by tech date 27 March 2017 alle 18:37 (),

    This is very interesting, Shaun. I’ve thought of these things, as you mention. We can’t do anything without power, and articles talk about the power grid and what would happen if these people start to mess with that. We don’t yet know how to protect that infrustructure, but we need to learn.

  2. Comment by crashmaster date 27 March 2017 alle 13:12 (),

    Well this just shows how secure you need to be.
    Most of my data, program installers, audio files, books, work files, etc are stored locally and on 2 hard drives.
    There is about 6 or so mb of important files, email contacts, site databases, passwords and the like.
    Yes I know I should really have a password manager.
    However most of the really important stuff is stored in a 7z file encripted with eas 256, and stored in my dropbox in a private location.
    That data is also mirrored on my external drives and on a flash drive used for the storage of data its only 128mb in size and thats what I do with it it never goes into any system bar my own.
    I do want however to eventually have some sort of backup plan or system either upload all my data from my drive to a source or have a place I could plug in my drive, copy it up and then have that sent away for storage.
    I’d never need all of it but if I could update it when I need it and have access to it then that would rock.
    Ofcause it doesn’t help if you can’t have access to it.
    Yesterday A combination of a loose wire which melted, causing the fuse to burn and the holder to melt caused power to be off for most of sunday morning.
    Granted sunday is when I exercise and walk so it was not much of an issue.
    However, one of the boxes had a broken ups on it and it didn’t shut down.
    I was able to shut the main one down but not another box my dad uses.
    I had to hard reset the bios and it works but even so.
    The worst thing was that we lost all power.
    A lot of articles say that your best defence is good online backups.
    It matters squat if you loose power.
    You can’t use your password manager or your computer or even the net or even the phone because all of those things require power to even think of working.
    Your best bet is still sad to say local offline storage, as many magnetic or flash devices as you can have physically.
    Again, for all those things that say I should have online backups, then I may as well get infected.
    It won’t work much if we loose power, or the net or the server its on.
    I am not even talking about hacking I am now talking about simple component failure.
    What I have noticed in articles of late, and which no one has even touched on, is that security is basically a fass.
    Its only good if you have the net and its only good if you have power.
    And while electronic security is good, that needs power.
    I have noticed especially with some cell and other companies, while people are happy to secure their systems, having back up batteries well that just doesn’t even happn as much as it should.
    I am planning to get some sort of expensive dc system that will at least give me an 8 hour battery, for phone use.
    And if it got that bad I’d have to get a generator.
    However all the security in the world won’t do anything much if power goes out.
    I was listening to some world war 3 scenarios and movies and unsure of how true it was, but if you shut down all power missiles assume you have been nuked.
    That in itself may be justified but if your fuse blew.
    Its just a fuse its got no mind.
    I do think we need to scale back security just a bit and think about infrastructure.
    When the power went off, I realised how much it meant to me.
    How much the world relies on power.
    If the power goes off, no coffee, no jug, no cooker, no internet, no computers, no phone, eventually no cells, no radio, no tv, no anything.
    I was like what the fuck do I do.
    True, for the short term I have my laptop, its battery is screwed though but even if it were not and I had the full 2 hours on it.
    I could play a game, I could watch saved movies, play audio music or read a book or 2 maybe.
    But once it went, it would be gone.
    No net means especially with the later parts of windows that 99.9% of all functionality won’t work.
    Worse for those on win8 and higher with out a local account, You can’t even login to your computer till the power came on or you reformat and reinstalled your os or something.
    I think there is a way to get past that and access your data but your settings will be gone.
    Most functions of your mobile phone won’t work either.
    You can have clocks and radios on battery as well as lights, gas fired cookers and lights, and your car I guess.
    But thats basically it.
    Oh and if there is no power for long enough the water you get from your tanks will stop to, and in the country its worse, no power = no water, no anything nothing at all.
    If you have no power you can go out and walk or find some.
    2. sleep till it comes back.
    If you can read braille books or play musical instruments you can do that.
    You can chat.
    But no fridges, soon enough you will be reduced to tinned food then probably no food.
    In the beginning we had a lot of redundancy now we don’t as stuff has got better and better.
    We start securing ourself from all sorts of nasties.
    But physical failier is never talked about.
    Today I lost connection to the net and had to reset.
    No big deal, but what happens if there was an issue out of my control?
    Once again, no phone, no net, forget about doing anything because you can’t do anything.
    Sadly its not echonomic but I really wish I kept my aging but well maintained copper analog.
    Ofcause if things went the phone would probably to but phones are network powered so even if one bit went your phone would still work.
    No one has thought about investing in some radio coms gear its about the only thing one can actually trust these days.
    With so many frequencies used for digital now ie powered stuff who knows.
    And its only the start, give a couple more centuries, we will know when the world will end.
    Because it will end when we loose power.
    We fight to digitally secure our stuff but seem to be overlooking things we should at least keep half an eye on.
    Its not hard to keep physical systems maintained and secure, but one needs to try to keep those going.
    Otherwise we could well find that the next time the world ends will not be the next nuke war or hacker attack but when a major transformer blows.

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