Category: GuardMode

The Future of Ransomware Detection: What ChatGPT Thinks and How GuardMode Keeps Up with Evolving Threats

Are you worried about falling victim to a ransomware attack? You are not alone! It’s hard not to be when businesses suffer ransomware attacks every 40 seconds. Ransomware has become one of the most significant cyber threats in recent years, and its impact is only expected to grow in the future. As technology advances, so do the methods used by hackers to create and distribute ransomware, including polymorphic and fileless attacks. Therefore, it is essential to look for new methods for ransomware detection to stay ahead of these threats. In this post, we will take a peek into our crystal ball to take a glimpse at the future as well as explore some of the technologies and strategies for detecting polymorphic and fileless ransomware attacks before they can do serious damage. Read on to learn more and protect your organization from these insidious threats with DPX and GuardMode! 

Let’s Ask ChatGPT How the Future Will Look! 

If you ask ChatGPT about the future of ransomware detection you are likely going to get a nice explanation about how ransomware detection will continue evolving using a multi-layered approach that leverages new technologies, improved security practices, and collaboration among security professionals. Most likely you are also going to get a list of key areas that will make a difference. Let’s see what they are and how GuardMode – Catalogic’s ransomware detection extension for DPX data protection solution – is aligned with these. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning 

No doubt that AI will be something that you’d intuitively put in first place. AI and machine learning can help detect patterns and anomalies that may be indicative of a ransomware attack. These technologies can analyze large volumes of data in real-time to identify potential threats. An important thing to keep in mind is that any machine learning / AI solution is only as good as the data it has access to. GuardMode solution is constantly watching and recording data operations, so that in the future it will be able to finetune all types of detection strategies it offers, to the environment where it’s deployed. 

Behavior-based Detection 

According to our virtual friend, ChatGPT, future detection solutions will rely on behavior-based detection to look for unusual or suspicious behavior that may indicate an attack, rather than relying solely on signature-based detection, which can be ineffective against new or unknown threats. 

Behavior-based detection is something we’ve identified as a critical, must-have functionality when we started the development of GuardMode. Detecting any out-of-the-ordinary behavior on the monitored data helps you react faster or create automated workflows that will do that for you. 

A good example is the polymorphic and fileless ransomware types. These two are highly effective at evading detection and circumventing traditional security measures. Polymorphic ransomware can change its code and encryption keys to avoid detection, while fileless ransomware operates entirely in memory and uses legitimate system tools to avoid detection. It’s important to mention that while behavior-based detection might spot not only ransomware related activity, it will also identify misconfiguration of your infrastructure, user mistakes, or intentional misconduct. 

Improved Security Practices 

As ransomware attacks become more sophisticated, it’s important to implement a range of security practices, including regular data backups, multi-factor authentication, and employee training on how to recognize and respond to potential threats. That’s another recommendation on ChatGPT’s list and we find it absolutely correct. The better your data protection ecosystem is integrated and aware of its components, the faster and easier it is to ensure your shields are up, and if something bad happens, to help you get your data back. GuardMode was designed to enhance Catalogic’s DPX Enterprise Data Protection with an additional layer of security and set of important features that help the administrators to make sure they are backing up the correct, healthy data and that the source systems are ransomware symptoms-free. The integration between GuardMode and DPX will continue to evolve bringing more options for the users out of the box. Even today with the existing REST APIs. GuardMode’s alerts and notifications can be used to seal your systems, network shares, put certain binaries on quarantine and more. 

Integration with Other Security Technologies 

Finally, ChatGPT predicts that ransomware detection technologies may become more integrated with other security technologies, such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. This integration can help improve the overall effectiveness of ransomware detection and response. Another great point and one more for GuardMode. I’ve mentioned earlier that REST APIs can be used for integration. It’s still the case for EDRs, XDRs or SIEMs. However, for this purpose GuardMode can seamlessly publish valuable information using Syslog, so that any other element of your security infrastructure can easily consume it and augment the security picture with information about data-related anomalies, processes, files, and users involved. The more information and the better it’s correlated, the more accurate reaction from your systems and personnel will be. 


This was a fun exercise! ChatGPT, even with the data it has been trained with stopping before 2022, builds a pretty accurate (however very high-level) picture of the direction in which ransomware will evolve and how ransomware detection solutions will have to adapt. It also puts a smile on our faces as all the points mentioned by ChatGPT are imprinted into GuardMode’s DNA from the very start.

Our final conclusion is that the future of ransomware detection looks promising. While the statement that “the Ransomware attacks have become more sophisticated over the years, making it difficult for antivirus software to detect and prevent them” will remain true for years to come, we believe that detection solutions will improve the situation. With the development of new technologies such as machine learning and behavior-based detection, and the continued collaboration between security vendors and researchers, we can expect to see more effective solutions for detecting and preventing ransomware attacks in the future. We need to keep reminding ourselves how important it is that security is a layered approach and something you have to build and maintain continuously. With GuardMode enhancing DPX data protection capabilities, it is the additional security layer that is focused on your data, that you should have. Contact us to learn more and get a demonstration of GuardMode. 

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05/17/2023 0 Comments

How GuardMode Ransomware Detection Secures Your Backup Solution


A backup strategy in place is essential for protecting your data against a ransomware attack. However, relying solely on backups is not enough to ensure complete protection from continuously more sophisticated risks. 

The thing to remember is that backups can be an effective defense against ransomware only if they are done regularly and stored securely. Regular backups ensure that you have the most recent versions of your data available in case of an attack. Storing backups securely, such as on an offline or off-site location, can prevent the ransomware from accessing and encrypting them. Remember the 3-2-1 rule!

However, there are still some scenarios where backups may not be enough to protect against ransomware. For example:

  • If the ransomware can infect and encrypt the backed-up files before you notice the attack. 
  • If the backups are not set up correctly or not being tested regularly, which may lead to data loss or the inability to restore the data.  
  • If the backup process or systems are themselves compromised.

This is why we’ve decided to enhance the protection against data loss due to ransomware attacks by adding GuardMode, a ransomware detection module specifically designed to further protect your data and backup solution against ransomware.

GuardMode Detection Strategies 

Three fundamental types of ransomware detection allow for a precise and early detection of suspicious activity for your backup and storage admins: 

  • Threshold-based ransomware detection is a method of identifying ransomware attacks by monitoring file access patterns and setting predefined thresholds. It works by identifying when ransomware is attempting to encrypt a large number of files quickly or change file extensions 
  • Honeypot file-based ransomware detection involves creates fake files that look like real data but are designed to trigger an alert when accessed or modified.
  • Blocklist-based ransomware detection is a method of identifying ransomware by comparing file name patterns against a known list of ransomware-specific patterns.

A combination of these three mechanisms provides an effective way for early detection of ransomware, and in combination with a data protection solution like DPX, they significantly enhance the security posture of your team to be more proactive.

Benefits of Ransomware Detection for Backup Solutions 

Avoid Paying Ransom Demands 

First, taking a proactive security posture can help your organization avoid paying ransom demands. If ransomware infects your system and your backups are encrypted, you may have no other option but to pay the ransom to get your data back. However, with GuardMode, you can prevent the attack from encrypting your backups, and you can restore your data from a clean backup copy. 

Minimize Downtime and Decrease Recovery Time 

Another advantage of ransomware detection in backup solutions is that it can minimize downtime. Ransomware attacks can cause significant downtime, which can result in lost revenue and productivity. With GuardMode ransomware detection, you can quickly identify and isolate infected systems, preventing the malware from spreading to other systems and minimizing the time it takes to recover from a ransomware attack. This is because you can get early notification to take action quickly to isolate the affected systems and restore data from backups. 

Improve Overall Cybersecurity 

The early detection mechanisms of GuardMode in combination with REST APIs and syslog integration helps your backup and storage teams improve your overall cybersecurity posture. By implementing measures to detect ransomware and ransomware-like attacks, you can enhance your existing security posture and you’re well equipped for automating actions to take upon detection like: 

  • Making shares read-only instantaneously 
  • Blocking suspiciously behaving accounts 
  • Invoking immediate snapshot/backup on the affected system

It also important to take additional steps to protect against ransomware, such as implementing strong cybersecurity measures and training employees on how to recognize and avoid ransomware using antivirus and anti-malware software. 

Why You Need to Add GuardMode Today

Ransomware attacks can cause significant damage to your business. Having a reliable backup solution is crucial to be able to recover data and systems, but backup solution are not immune to ransomware attacks. Ransomware can encrypt files on source systems before they are backed up, and if unnoticed, making them useless for recovery in the event of a data loss. This is where ransomware detection offered by GuardMode comes in handy. Providing early detection of ransomware attacks allows you to take immediate action to limit the spread and prevent the attack from encrypting your files unnoticed before they are backed up.

Contact us to learn more about GuardMode and how it can seamlessly integrate with your existing  infrastructure and enhance your security posture. We can demonstrate GuardMode in action, and help you integrate and fine-tune GuardMode to fully utilize its potential using your existing infrastructure.

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03/22/2023 0 Comments

Real-Life Ransomware Attacks and How GuardMode Helps to Mitigate the Damage

According to Statista reports, total enterprise data volume was estimated to increase significantly, rising from approximately 1 petabyte to 2.02 petabytes, which represents an average annual growth of 42.2% ( ). It’s important to note that the majority of this data will be stored in internally managed data centers.

This is a lot of enterprise data. With the fast pace of cloud storage adoption, that is in some cases entirely transparent to the end user, we don’t even realize how much data we collect … and how much we have to protect.

Unfortunately, with the growing amount of data, and its importance, ransomware attacks continue to be a growing concern for businesses of all sizes. In recent years, the number of ransomware attacks has skyrocketed, causing significant damage to businesses and individuals alike. While traditional antivirus and anti-malware software can provide some level of protection, these solutions are often limited in their ability to detect early and track these types of attacks.

GuardMode is a solution that provides an additional layer of protection to a backup and recovery solution, specifically for ransomware and ransomware-like threat detection. GuardMode helps detect and alert administrators about suspicious activity in real-time, minimize the impact of an attack on the user’s data and systems, and help roll back just the affected data, without having to revert to a full point-in-time snapshot. In this blog post, we’ll explore two real-life examples of ransomware attacks and how GuardMode detects their abnormal behavior and then helps to mitigate and recovery from the damage.

WannaCry Ransomware

WannaCry is one of the most famous ransomware attacks of all time. This strain of ransomware was discovered in May of 2017, and it quickly spread across the globe, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries. The WannaCry attack used a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows to spread rapidly and infect systems. Reporter Connor Jones of ITPro points out in a recent article that many fail to realize that after 5 years, WannaCry’s ghost, still actively lurks on the ransomware landscape.

GuardMode, with its real-time monitoring’ and behavior-based detection techniques, as well as built-in decoy files deployment, is able to detect the abnormal file access patterns and unusual process execution associated with WannaCry. The software would then alert the backup admin and IT operations team immediately, allowing them to take action before the ransomware had the chance to encrypt their files.

With support for both Windows and Linux machines, GuardMode can detect suspicious patterns and ransomware-specific extensions on file shares. Repeated alerts trigger an automation that would lock down file-shares to read-only and would alert the IT and Security teams to take action immediately.

Furthermore, by integrating GuardMode with a backup and recovery solution such as Catalogic DPX, the orginazation gains an additional layer of recovery.  Through the usage of a REST API and syslog, administrators get an option to automate on-demand snapshots or backups, and gain the ability to roll back just the affected data, given GuardMode is tracking all the encrypted files on the system.

Ryuk Ransomware

Ryuk is another well-known strain of ransomware that has been responsible for significant damage in recent years. Ryuk is typically used in targeted attacks against large organizations, and it is known for its ability to cause substantial damage in a short amount of time. It’s important to remember that typically during a malware attack, the attackers map the network, identify critical systems and gather information about the target’s infrastructure, so later they can use techniques such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Server Message Block (SMB) to move from one compromised system to another, escalating privileges and expanding their control over the network. Once the attackers have control over the target network, they run the Ryuk ransomware and encrypt files on the file shares, workstations, and servers. The ransomware will typically also delete shadow or backup copies of files and stop certain critical services.

With GuardMode in place, the software is able detect the abnormal behavior associated with Ryuk. With the ability to track file activity, GuardMode could be configured to detect new binaries being installed on systems where no installations should be performed. This allows IT admins to take action before the ransomware had the chance to encrypt their data. Additionally, as Ryuk is a rapid encryption ransomware, GuardMode can quickly detect typical thresholds being surpassed and send an alert allowing Administrators to take immediate action. Ryuk is known to place a RyukReadMe.txt file that contains detailed information about ransom payment – that is yet another thing that GuardMode is looking for to warn users as soon as possible. Furthermore, by integrating with a backup solution, GuardMode can make a copy of backup data available for recovery through a guided recovery mechanism, even if the ransomware was successful in encrypting files.


Ransomware attacks are a growing concern for businesses of all sizes, and traditional antivirus and anti-malware software can only do so much. Recent research from IBM () found that the average breach lifecycle takes 287 days, with organizations taking 212 days to initially detect a breach and 75 days to contain it. The same study revealed there was a 94.34% reduction in the average duration of ransomware attacks between 2019 and 2021, from over two months to just a little more than three days. Taking the above into account, it’s clear that with the advanced and more sophisticated ways of avoiding heuristic-based detection mechanisms, it’s more challenging to detect and block malicious software. GuardMode, with its real-time monitoring and behavior-based detection techniques, provides an additional layer of data protection that can do early detection and alert the administrator or other systems of these types of malware attacks.

By integrating GuardMode with a backup and recovery solution like Catalogic DPX, businesses can minimize the impact of a ransomware attack and ensure the rapid and precise recovery of their data. DPX offers an integrated web-based management console for GuardMode, allowing for easier configuration, maintenance, and alerting.

Contact us to learn more about GuardMode and how it can enhance your security posture and how can it seamlessly integrate with your existing infrastructure. We will demonstrate GuardMode in action, and help you integrate and fine-tune GuardMode to fully utilize its potential using your existing infrastructure.

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02/13/2023 0 Comments

Ensuring the Data Integrity of your Backups with GuardMode

The Case for Ensuring Data Integrity 

While writing a long term paper, I accidentally overwrote and replaced a long passage with a single character – the unintended consequence of a Select All and an accidental keyboard press.  I didn’t realize that a good portion of my paper was gone until I went back to proofread it, and I had to go back through multiple versions only to discover that the error had been saved in those versions as well.  While it took me another couple of hours to rewrite the section, it taught a valuable of lesson in that just because you have a saved copy, the data contained within it may not be the data you expect or want.  

Such is true in today’s environment where unscrupulous actors encrypt data for ransom and even your backup copies may not spare you from the fallout when those copies were affected with ransomware as well. Data protection has always been multi-faceted by concerns regarding recovery point objective (how often to backup, how long to retain the backup) and recovery time objective (how quick to recover in the event of data loss). There are very few solutions that look at the data integrity and data validity −  is the data that is being restored the data that I want?  

GuardMode is an add-on feature set to DPX that was built to address this concern and help ensure the data integrity of your backups.  

What does GuardMode do?  

DPX GuardMode actively monitors filesystem activity on the backup clients that you are protecting within DPX and identifies data that may have been compromised.  From an architectural perspective, there is a GuardMode agent that needs to be installed on the client server that will be monitored.   

As users interact with the filesystem on the server, the GuardMode agent will detect this activity and alert administrators on violations to configurable rulesets defined by the system administrator.  

Early Detection Strategies 

In addition to default behaviors that alert based on file properties like file entropy, the value associated with randomness of a file where higher entropy values could signify encrypted data. Backup admins are able to customize what they classify as violations via:  

Blocklist– The blocklist  is a list of file types/extensions that a user does not want on their filesystem.  It can be automatically updated and populated directly from the Catalogic support webserver and exceptions can defined within the DPX user interface.  By using a blocklist, administrators can receive alerts when these files (most of them are known ransomware file types) land on the filesystem. 

Honey Pots – A honey pot is like a booby trap, put in place to alert an administrator when users are making modifications to a folder location that has been designated as a honey pot.  When a file modification occurs to a honey pot, the trap is sprung and an administrator is notified that someone is making changes to files that should not change.

GuardMode Proactive Detection Strategies 

Threshold Monitoring

Threshold violations occur when I/O operations exceed a limit. Users can configure these limits based on frequency, interval scanning, and other parameters that sum to a weighted value. For example, a server which typically doesn’t have much activity in terms of filesystem changes suddenly has over 100K file writes in 30 secs should raise an alarm that something outside of the ordinary is occurring. This type of monitoring can raise a flag and allow an administrator to investigate more deeply and follow-up with the appropriate user making those changes.

Restoring the Data You Need 

Data protection is more than just backup and restore. It needs to be multi-faceted to address the many ways in which data can be backed up and how quickly that data can be restored and reused.  DPX addressed these concerns by providing a block level incremental backup and a disk to disk to tape/cloud (3-2-1) backup strategy as well as multiple options for restoring data like Instant Access, Bare Metal Recovery, and Instant Virtualization.  Now with GuardMode, DPX can help ensure the integrity of the data that is being protected so that the data you restore is the data you want.  

Come check out some videos on the YouTube page for an overview and demonstration of GuardMode. 

GuardMode is continually evolving and becoming even more tightly integrated with DPX. In the future, we will tie early detection and recovery capabilities even further by using analytics and metadata from GuardMode to help with guided restore capabilities in DPX.  Then you too can hopefully avoid having to put on another pot of coffee at 2AM trying to finish a project due the next morning. 

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02/01/2023 0 Comments

DPX 4.9 Adds Proactive Ransomware Shield for Linux and Improves Quality of Alerts for Backup Admins

We are pleased to announce the release of Catalogic DPX 4.9, where we continue to build upon our commitment to providing one of the most cyber resilient data protection and backup coverage matrices for private, public, and hybrid-cloud environments. This release adds to our industry leading ransomware recovery and cyber resilience features by building on the DPX GuardMode for Windows capability made available in DPX 4.8.1.

GuardMode provides proactive monitoring for early detection and notification of suspicious activity along with identifying and enabling the recovery of any affected data. Before DPX 4.9, this feature was limited to Windows, but DPX 4.9 now offers GuardMode for Linux servers and Samba shares.  In addition, backup administrators can now benefit from increased quality of alerts, where GuardMode measures the level of file entropy and compares known magic signatures on files suspected to be impacted. GuardMode uses active, live forensic techniques instead of analyzing backup data that lags security incidents by several hours, days, and even weeks.

DPX 4.9 also delivered improvements to the web-based HTML UI, including support for Block Backup, Restore, and support for archival of those block-based backups. We also added several improvements to different DPX services, including reporting and event service monitoring.

We have also added several improvements to the use of DPX vStor in this release. This includes the ability to archive backup copies from a replicated vStor, multi-factor authentication, and an easier way to install vStor on a physical server.

And finally, DPX 4.9 includes many general improvements to existing DPX features. All new features of our DPX 4.9 product are listed below:

DPX Cyber Resilience

  • GuardMode for Linux

Adds a Linux ransomware detection agent with the ability to detect and notify an administrator of possible suspicious activity on the host. This is an upgrade to the already present Windows agent that adds a layer of ransomware detection and alerting to the DPX enterprise.

  • Encrypted Files Detection and Encryption Tracking

Adds an agent feature that detects encrypted files and tracks the encryption process to provide a list of affected files through a REST API. This allows administrators to improve their understanding of the infection scope as well as provides a list of affected files to restore.

  • Syslog Support

Adds syslog as a notification target for notifications.  This allows administrators to plug in GuardMode agent notifications into their existing security event collection workflows (for example, into a SIEM solution.)

DPX Services

  • Support for Block Backup and Restore in HTML UI

Adds the option of scheduling Block Backups and all corresponding restore options (File Restore, Instant Access Mapping, Backup Virtualization, Application) to HTML UI.  Now, the user can run block backup and restore workloads without relying on the Java GUI by using the HTML UI or REST API, which is faster and opens up new automation or integrations possibility.

  • Support for Double Protection for Block Backup

Adds option of Double Protection in the HTML UI. The Administrator can now configure Double Protection (Archiving) via the HTML UI more responsively and intuitively. REST APIs are available for this feature as well.

  • Reporting Improvements

Adds the ability to generate PDF versions of the reports, scheduling of reports, and the option to send them via email. Also introduces a new report for 24-hour job status overview.

  • Event Service Improvements

Adds more Master Server events to be received by the DPX event service. This allows an administrator to configure granular email notifications for more types of events from DPX services, including backup jobs, status changes and more.

  • Appliance Operating System Update to Alma Linux 8.7

Migrated the appliance operating system to a downstream Linux distribution from Red Hat and upgraded to a current release.

DPX Core 

  • Archive from Alternate/Replicated DPX vStor

Adds the ability to archive from a replicated vStor.  This allows the Administrator the flexibility to configure backup to a primary DPX vStor at a branch office then replicate to a central site vStor, and to also archive data from the secondary vStor to Cloud/Tape/DiskDirectory, and then restore to any location.

  • Microsoft Azure Blob and Alibaba Object Storage support

Adds Microsoft Azure Blob and Alibaba Object Storage support as Archive/NDMP cloud targets.

  • Catalog Condense Improvements

Catalog Condense now cleans up Cloud and DiskDirectory storage.

  • Integrating DPX Core Services to Linux systemd Service Manager

Uses systemd to manage cmagent/nibbler services on RedHat/CentOS 7.6+ and SUSE 12+.

  • Adding New Platforms for Agentless VMware Backup Proxies

Support RHEL, CentOS, OEL, and AlmaLinux 8.0~8.3 as proxy nodes for Agentless VMware backup.

  • New BMR ISO for Linux kernel v4.18

New Linux BMR ISO to support Linux kernel v4.18.

DPX vStor – Software-Defined Backup Appliance

  • Addition of MFA

Adds a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to both UI and console access.

  • Password Reset Improvements

Adds the ability to reset password on HTML UI.

  • Physical Installation ISO

Creates ISO installation image that can be used to install vStor on physical appliances.


For further information on DPX 4.9, see the What’s New in DPX 4.9 document and other resources on the DPX products page. Customers with support can access more detailed information in the release notes on the Support page.  For more information on Microsoft 365 and Open VM backups, please see DPX vPlus.

Whether it is ransomware attacks, human error or IT outages, every business needs an affordable and reliable data protection solution like Catalogic DPX to backup and instantly recover data to ensure business continuity. Have a question or want a live demo? Contact us today!

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12/14/2022 0 Comments

Active Ransomware Protection for Your Backup and Recovery Team

Catalogic DPX GuardMode, a new free capability announced in July 2022, provides early detection of ransomware. Combined with the comprehensive workload coverage of DPX and instant recoveries, backup and storage teams using DPX GuardMode will be among the best prepared to recover from a cyberattack. DPX GuardMode is complementary to endpoint and edge protection, monitoring file shares and file system behavior, even over the network, instead of relying on a specific binary fingerprint. GuardMode maintains, and regularly updates over 4000 known ransomware threat patterns, and assesses affected files. Backing up this extensive forensic layer of protection are honeypots as a deception layer to catch ever-evolving types of ransomware strains. GuardMode increases confidence in ransomware detection while identifying and enabling recovery of only the affected data.

GuardMode can:

  • Proactively monitor file shares and file system behavior, even over the network.
  • Notify backup and storage teams of suspicious activity and pinpoint the extent of potential damage caused by cyber incidents.
  • Identify and enable recovery of only the affected data.

Watch this 3-minute demonstration to learn how DPX GuardMode works.

If you would like to learn more about DPX GuardMode, you can request a live demo or contact us.

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09/29/2022 0 Comments

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