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The Gately Report: One MSP's Account of Devastating Ransomware Attack

Plus, why the hackers behind the high-profile SolarWinds attack targeted Microsoft.

Edward Gately

January 29, 2024

12 Slides

Robert Cioffi knows what it’s like to have your entire life turned upside-down and left permanently scarred by a ransomware attack.

He’s CTO and co-founder of New York-based Progressive Computing, one of 60 MSPs hit with ransomware attacks just hours before the July 4th weekend in 2021. Affiliates of the REvil ransomware gang launched cyberattacks on Kaseya and customers using Kaseya’s VSA product, including Cioffi’s business.

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Earlier this month, Cioffi stood in a federal courtroom in Dallas to give a victim statement during the sentencing of Yaroslav Vasinskyi, a Ukrainian national, charged with conducting the ransomware attacks. Sentencing will be in March.

“My work is not finished,” Cioffi said. “Even when Yaroslav Vasinskyi is finally in a jail cell living out his sentence, the work is not done. We need to continue to fight the good fight here and make sure that we are helping each other as an industry be better, to help all those that we interface with. Law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice and our politicians, they need to be hearing from us. We need to do things differently than what we have been doing. And if we don't stand up and take that voice, then we're just going to be right where we are every day. And everyone who's reading this is going to say, 'Good Lord, I dread that nightmare that Robert went through, and I just hope it's not me next time.' Well, it's coming for you. And if you don't do something about it, then you're next.”

Related:The Gately Report: Orca Security to Invest More in Partners in 2024

Lasting Trauma from Ransomware Attack

During his victim impact statement, Cioffi said he doesn’t have a medical diagnosis of PTSD, “but it sure as hell feels like I do.”

Progressive Computing's Robert Cioffi

“So will I ever be whole? “I don't know," he said. "Are there others here that suffer some of that feeling as well? I can shake my head and nod 'yes.' We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments and what we were able to do in the short order that we were able to do it in. It was a monumental effort to get this thing done and we did it. And we did it because of our strong company culture and the way we feel for each other as a team. So for us, it was a massive victory in some ways that we were able to kind of come through this, singed and all, yet made whole because we demanded it of ourselves. And the help that we received from the community, it lifted our spirits in a way that helped overcome a lot of things. But did we suffer financially? You bet. Did we have lots of costs that we still haven't recouped? You bet. Do I feel PTSD, although not medically diagnosed with such an ailment? You bet; the scars are permanent.”

See our slideshow above for more from Cioffi and more cybersecurity news.

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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