Acronis adds blockchain to True Image 2017 for ransomware protection

Acronis' new True Image combines backup with protection against ransomware. The software uses blockchain technology to authenticate and certify data to combat ransomware attacks.

Data protection vendor Acronis upgraded its True Image backup product to include ransomware protection, with the help of blockchain technology.

Released last week, True Image 2017 consists of Acronis Active Protection for continuous data protection, Acronis Notary using blockchain and Acronis ASign document certification.

"We know the ransomware threat is growing," said Gaidar Magdanurov, vice president and general manager for consumer and online business at Acronis. "Historically, ransomware started as simple software. An email launched the software into the computer and infected files. Now, it infects backup files as well. Ransomware tries to inject malicious code into the address space of the application. We detect ransomware when it is happening, not after the fact."

Acronis Active Protection does automated, continuous ransomware protection so customers can roll back and choose a point-in-time recovery from before a malicious ransomware attack. "We monitor the address space of the application. Our own engine detects the suspicious activity. The Active Protection looks for new applications in the system, unknown applications that are not signed by a certification from a major vendor," Magdanurov said.

Acronis Notary's blockchain data authentication verifies modifications against the original version of content. Blockchain technology stores a series of time-stamped data records in a database. Each block includes a hash, and the hashes are locked into a chain. The blocks are stored in different locations so no official copy exists, so the data cannot be tampered with or revised.

Acronis Notary stores digital file fingerprints in a database. When a file is backed up, Notary creates a certificate for that file. Any party with access to the underlying blockchain can independently confirm each file's authenticity.

"Blockchain helps verify the original content," Magdanurov said.

Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC's Storage Systems and Software practice, said use of blockchain technology for ransomware protection makes True Image 2017 stand out among backup applications.

"They are a leading company using blockchain for data protection," Goodwin said of Acronis. "It's important technology and [Acronis] is ahead of the game. The authentication validates the document has not been changed by an unauthorized party, while the certification [requires] multiple parties to sign a document. The method assures the copy was not changed from one party to another."

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