Magnetic storage sees record-breaking sales as ransomware attacks increase

In a nutshell: If you might be a minimum of as outdated as me, you would possibly keep in mind again to the times when magnetic tape was the one possibility for pc storage. Those reminiscences usually are not fond ones for me having to attend an hour to load up a online game was not enjoyable. However, tape storage has not gone away. In truth, it’s seeing a surge thanks partially to ransomware.

Hard disk drives (HDD) changed magnetic media a long time in the past due to their pace, and now solid-state drives (SSD) are poised to supplant HDDs for exactly the identical cause. However, Linear Tape-Open (LTO) units, which got here out within the Nineteen Nineties, are nonetheless in use by many corporations.

Today, LTO drives are primarily used as a backup storage resolution as a result of they’re far too gradual for the rest. A typical use case is to start out a backup on the finish of the workday, and it completes after a number of hours in a single day. Keep in thoughts these LTO cassettes are nothing like the traditional Commodore cassette drive out of your childhood. The newest LTO 9 cartridges can maintain as much as 45TB.

Interestingly, final yr, LTO options noticed a record-breaking surge in sales, with corporations like HP, IBM, and Quantum reporting greater than 148 exabytes of tape having offered. Sweclockers notes it as a 41-percent increase over 2020 and a 30-percent spike over the earlier sales document of 114 exabytes offered in 2019 (above).

The Swedish outlet contends that the rise in magnetic media sales is partly as a result of increase in ransomware attacks. Using LTO drives creates an “air gap” in storage as a result of the system is offline and, in my expertise, typically off-site.

So the one method an attacker may destroy an organization’s knowledge fully can be to bodily break into the place the LTO is saved and both copy or delete the information off of quite a few cassettes a course of that will take far too lengthy to be sensible.

However, LTO shouldn’t be meant as a main backup resolution. Restoring from the drives is simply as time-consuming. It additionally doesn’t defend from threatening attacks to launch or promote an organization’s knowledge. Tape can retailer huge quantities of knowledge and sit on a shelf for years. Storing it off-site additionally protects knowledge from being misplaced to a hearth or pure catastrophe.


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