Ransomeware Protection: Hyderabad’s UNIK Systems Develops ‘ZeroXT’

Hyderabad-based cyber security and threat intelligence company, UNIK Systems (www.uniksys.co.in), has developed ZeroXT, a product that will protect data-at-rest against a variety of threats, such as ransomware attacks, unauthorized access, data leakage, unauthorized retrieval of data from stolen hard disks, data modification and data destruction.

The solution is being evaluated by its critical clients.

The ZeroXT solution is being built with complex algorithms, and will soon be available in the market. Currently, the product is undergoing pilot analysis in some of the Government, banking and financial institutions. UNIK began research on this product when the well-known Sony Entertainment hack happened, and much before the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware that hit the cyber universe early this week.

Explaining the features of ZeroXT, Chakradhar Kommera, Co-Founder and CEO of UNIK, says “The new product development follows ‘ZERO USB’ product currently available and proven to be effective in ensuring a clean boot across a wide cross section of organizations/enterprises, thereby protecting the OS from any tampering/destruction attacks.”

ZeroXT is an extension of ZERO USB with the additional functionality of protecting data-at-rest. Additionally, a software development kit (SDK) can be provided to tightly bind various software applications, such as information rights management (IRM) and email-client, to further utilize the hardened encryption.

Explaining the features of UNIK’s pioneering R&D in the area of cyber security, Mr. Rajkumar Kotha, Co-Founder of UNIK, said, “Our secure hard disk and USB products can keep you safe from ransomware attacks by allowing you to create hidden partitions, read-only partitions and more such features to prevent any malware from overwriting your data unauthorizedly.”

“While the spread of the present ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack has slowed due to accidental remedy by a UK-based cyberanalyst, concern remains that such attacks could be launched in a much larger scale in the near future as the tools for embarking on ransomware attacks are readily available on the dark web.”, added Kommera.

After the attack on Sony Entertainment in 2014, Unik Systems had rightly predicted and invested significantly in R&D over the last few years to help enterprises thwart such advanced attacks. Since then, UNIK’s Hardened Microkernel, end-to-end encrypted Messenger, communication security devices, have been validated and deployed by Indian defence, scientific and security organizations.

It remains to be seen how the WannaCry malware spread so fast across so many organizations around the world in such a small time. This highlights the danger of the open communication systems the world has become so used to! A recent article noted that nearly 300,000 internet of things (IoT) nodes have become part of a growing bot (a software application that does automated tasks) that is probably getting to launch significant attack.

According to UNIK, the ‘kill switch’ built into WannaCry accidentally helped halt the spread of the ransomware. However, ‘kill switches’ may not necessarily be built into future ransomware attacks, and their impact could be more devastating.