Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that presents an enterprise-level danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an attack. Versions of ransomware like the CrySIS, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and still inflict damage. Modern strains of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk and Hermes, plus more unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line files but also infiltrate all available system restores and backups. Data synchronized to the cloud can also be rendered useless. In a poorly architected environment, it can render any recovery hopeless and effectively knocks the datacenter back to zero.

Getting back online applications and data after a ransomware outage becomes a race against the clock as the victim struggles to stop lateral movement and cleanup the ransomware and to resume mission-critical activity. Because crypto-ransomware requires time to move laterally, attacks are frequently sprung at night, when attacks in many cases take longer to notice. This compounds the difficulty of promptly assembling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent offers an assortment of support services for protecting enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are staff education to become familiar with and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of the latest generation security solutions with artificial intelligence technology to intelligently detect and extinguish new cyber threats. Progent also provides the assistance of seasoned ransomware recovery consultants with the skills and perseverance to reconstruct a breached system as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Services
After a ransomware attack, paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will return the keys to decrypt all your information. Kaspersky Labs determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their files after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the usual crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to setup from scratch the essential parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent access to complete data backups, this calls for a broad complement of IT skills, top notch team management, and the ability to work 24x7 until the recovery project is done.

For decades, Progent has made available certified expert Information Technology services for businesses in Baltimore and throughout the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have earned top certifications in leading technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity engineers have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with accounting and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to efficiently understand critical systems and consolidate the surviving parts of your network system after a ransomware event and configure them into an operational network.

Progent's security team of experts utilizes top notch project management applications to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of working rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology staff to prioritize tasks and to put the most important services back on line as soon as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A client hired Progent after their company was attacked by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been developed by Northern Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting techniques exposed from Americaís NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific organizations with limited room for operational disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of ransomware viruses. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturer located in Chicago and has about 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had paralyzed all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data backups had been online at the start of the attack and were destroyed. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom demand (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately utilized Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough about the help Progent gave us during the most critical time of (our) companyís life. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. That you could get our e-mail and important servers back in less than 1 week was incredible. Each expert I interacted with or communicated with at Progent was urgently focused on getting our company operational and was working day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked with the customer to rapidly determine and prioritize the most important elements that needed to be restored to make it possible to restart business functions:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent followed Anti-virus incident response best practices by halting lateral movement and removing active viruses. Progent then started the steps of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise environments built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without AD, and the businessesí MRP applications utilized SQL Server, which needs Active Directory for access to the database.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory services to its pre-virus state. Progent then accomplished reinstallations and hard drive recovery of critical servers. All Exchange schema and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate intact OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on staff workstations and laptops in order to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the client's financials/MRP software made it possible to return these required programs back online. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, the most important services were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the production operation showed little impact and we made all customer orders."

Over the following few weeks critical milestones in the restoration process were achieved through tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Self-hosted web applications were returned to operation without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than 4 million historical messages was brought online and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were fully operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was installed.
  • 90% of the user desktops and notebooks were being used by staff.

"Much of what occurred in the initial days is mostly a fog for me, but my team will not forget the urgency each and every one of your team put in to give us our company back. I have trusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This situation was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A possible business-killing catastrophe was averted through the efforts of results-oriented experts, a broad spectrum of technical expertise, and close collaboration. Although in retrospect the ransomware virus incident described here could have been blocked with modern cyber security solutions and security best practices, staff education, and properly executed incident response procedures for information protection and proper patching controls, the fact is that government-sponsored cybercriminals from China, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), Iím grateful for letting me get some sleep after we got past the first week. Everyone did an amazing effort, and if any of your team is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"

To review or download a PDF version of this ransomware incident report, click:
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers businesses in Baltimore a range of online monitoring and security evaluation services to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize modern AI capability to uncover zero-day strains of ransomware that can escape detection by legacy signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection service that utilizes next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade traditional signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire malware attack progression including protection, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver affordable in-depth security for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, penetration alerts, device management, and web filtering through cutting-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a single console. Progent's security and virtualization experts can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's unique needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data security standards. Progent will help you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require urgent attention. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and verify a backup and restore solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint security and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end service for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and enables rapid recovery of vital files, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software bugs, disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can provide advanced expertise to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can assist you to recover your critical data. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam and virus filtering service that incorporates the infrastructure of leading data security companies to provide centralized control and comprehensive security for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway appliance to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based threats. The cloud filter acts as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of threats from making it to your network firewall. This decreases your exposure to external threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device adds a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays within your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for smaller organizations to map out, track, reconfigure and troubleshoot their networking appliances like routers, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, client computers and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network diagrams are kept updated, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when issues are detected. By automating complex management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating devices that require critical software patches, or resolving performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your IT system operating efficiently by tracking the health of critical assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your designated IT management personnel and your Progent engineering consultant so any potential problems can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to a different hosting solution without a lengthy and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into a single hosting service. Learn more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, find and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and managing your IT documentation, you can save as much as 50% of time thrown away trying to find vital information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized location for holding and collaborating on all documents required for managing your business network like recommended procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT information. Whether youíre making improvements, performing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need when you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24x7 Baltimore CryptoLocker Removal Consulting, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.