SentinelOne adds feature to restore files hit by ransomware

If the worst-case scenario happens, files can be restored

SentinelOne has added a feature to its endpoint detection products that can restore files encrypted by cybercriminals, a common type of attack known as ransomware.

The "rollback" feature will be available in the 1.6 versions of its Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) and the Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) products at no charge, said Dal Gemmell, director of product management.

SentinelOne is among several vendors that are trying to displace traditional antivirus vendors with products that detect malware using deep analysis rather than signature-based detection.

The company's products use a lightweight agent on endpoints such as laptops and desktops, which looks at the core of the operating system -- the kernel -- as well the the user space, trying to spot changes that might be linked to malware.

The rollback feature leverages built-in capabilities in Microsoft's Windows and Apple's OS X. Both operating systems take snapshots of files on a computer. In Windows, it's known as Volume Shadow Copy Service and on OS X as journaling.

The technologies are used for restoring systems. The snapshots of the files are kept in a secure area and in some cases can be affected by ransomware if it infected a machine. Gemmell said. SentinelOne is also adding some anti-tampering defenses to make sure the snapshots aren't affected.

SentinelOne monitors the files that have been changed on an endpoint, and if someone becomes infected by ransomware, can roll back the changes.

"There are a number of different ransomwares that we've tested it out on," Gemmell said.

Ransomware had taken a heavy toll lately on organizations and businesses. It's one of the more profitable cyberscams, as often the only way to decrypt files is to pay a ransom -- ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands -- in bitcoin. Sometimes, the attackers don't bother to release the decryption key.

Security experts say the best way to recover from a ransomware attack is to have a backup of a computer's files. The backup drive, however, must be disconnected after replicating files otherwise it may be encrypted as well.

SentinelOne says it can detect and stop ransomware attacks, begging the question for why the new file restoration feature is needed.

Gemmell said customers can configure its products in a variety of ways. Some may have it set up to only set an alert when something is found rather than have it take an automated mitigation action. If just an alert is set, files could still be encrypted, necessitating the need for a rollback capability, he said.

This story has been updated to correct a technical description in paragraph six and the spelling of Gemmell in the last paragraph.

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