Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared IT Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ProfessionalsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that presents an existential danger for organizations poorly prepared for an attack. Different versions of crypto-ransomware such as Reveton, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and continue to inflict destruction. Newer strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, LockBit and Egregor, plus more unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of on-line data but also infect any accessible system restores and backups. Files replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable data protection solution, this can render automatic restoration impossible and basically knocks the entire system back to square one.

Getting back online programs and data following a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against time as the targeted business fights to stop the spread and eradicate the crypto-ransomware and to restore business-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware takes time to replicate, attacks are often launched during nights and weekends, when successful attacks in many cases take more time to identify. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and orchestrating an experienced response team.

Progent makes available a variety of services for protecting Columbus businesses from crypto-ransomware events. These include team training to help identify and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with setup and configuration of next-generation security appliances with AI technology to intelligently identify and disable new cyber threats. Progent also provides the services of experienced ransomware recovery professionals with the skills and perseverance to reconstruct a breached environment as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Subsequent to a ransomware event, even paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not ensure that criminal gangs will respond with the needed keys to decipher any of your information. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their files even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimated to be around $13,000 for small businesses. The fallback is to piece back together the key components of your IT environment. Absent the availability of essential system backups, this calls for a broad complement of IT skills, well-coordinated team management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the recovery project is finished.

For decades, Progent has provided certified expert IT services for businesses across the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes engineers who have earned high-level industry certifications in key technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity consultants have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with accounting and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience gives Progent the capability to efficiently ascertain necessary systems and re-organize the remaining pieces of your network environment after a ransomware attack and rebuild them into an operational network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts utilizes top notch project management applications to orchestrate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent understands the importance of working rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology resources to assign priority to tasks and to put essential systems back on-line as soon as humanly possible.

Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Attack Restoration
A small business contacted Progent after their company was penetrated by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by North Korean state hackers, suspected of using approaches leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific companies with little or no tolerance for disruption and is among the most lucrative iterations of ransomware. Major targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturer based in the Chicago metro area with around 500 employees. The Ryuk intrusion had paralyzed all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's backups had been on-line at the beginning of the intrusion and were destroyed. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200,000) and hoping for the best, but ultimately reached out to Progent.


"I canít say enough in regards to the help Progent gave us throughout the most stressful time of (our) businesses life. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals behind the attack if not for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our e-mail and important applications back quicker than 1 week was amazing. Every single expert I worked with or messaged at Progent was hell bent on getting us restored and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the customer to rapidly get our arms around and prioritize the key applications that needed to be restored in order to restart business functions:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Electronic Messaging
  • Financials/MRP
To begin, Progent followed Anti-virus incident response best practices by isolating and clearing infected systems. Progent then initiated the work of bringing back online Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without Active Directory, and the customerís accounting and MRP applications used Microsoft SQL, which needs Active Directory for access to the databases.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to restore Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then charged ahead with reinstallations and storage recovery of critical servers. All Exchange schema and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find local OST files (Outlook Email Off-Line Data Files) on user desktop computers and laptops in order to recover email data. A recent offline backup of the customerís manufacturing systems made them able to recover these required services back online for users. Although significant work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, core systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation was never shut down and we made all customer deliverables."

During the following few weeks critical milestones in the recovery process were made through tight cooperation between Progent team members and the customer:

  • Internal web sites were restored without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than 4 million archived messages was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/AP/AR/Inventory capabilities were 100 percent operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was set up and programmed.
  • Nearly all of the desktops and laptops were functioning as before the incident.

"Much of what happened in the initial days is nearly entirely a fog for me, but we will not soon forget the countless hours each and every one of you accomplished to give us our business back. Iíve been working together with Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered as promised. This event was a life saver."

Conclusion
A likely enterprise-killing catastrophe was evaded due to dedicated experts, a broad range of knowledge, and tight collaboration. Although in post mortem the crypto-ransomware virus penetration detailed here would have been shut down with modern security systems and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user education, and well thought out security procedures for information protection and applying software patches, the reality is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incident, remember that Progent's team of professionals has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, mitigation, and information systems recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thank you for letting me get some sleep after we made it past the most critical parts. All of you did an impressive job, and if any of your guys is in the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

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

Contact Progent for Ransomware System Recovery Expertise in Columbus
For ransomware recovery consulting in the Columbus metro area, phone Progent at 800-462-8800 or see Contact Progent.



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    Progent offers advanced remote support to help businesses integrate their information networks with leading public cloud platforms including Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Progent can assist your it team to plan and manage hybrid ecosystems that can include Windows and Linux operating systems and applications in both cloud-based solutions or in hybrid topologies that seamlessly combine physical IT assets along with public clouds. To help you to integrate public clouds with networks, Progent offers a range of cloud migration support services such as Azure enterprise hybrid cloud planning and deployment services, Amazon AWS cloud migration, and Amazon Web Marketing Service development and debugging. Progent has more than 15 years of background providing high-level consulting expertise remotely, and Progent can make sure you successfully carry out your cloud integration projects quickly and within your budget.

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    Online Photoshop Training Small Business Network Consulting Companies

    Progent provides customized remote instruction for an array of desktop apps and operating systems including Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 Excel, Word, Publisher and Outlook plus Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, Crystal Reports, and Windows 10. Remote training offers the benefits of traditional physical classroom instruction, including instant interaction between students and teachers, but avoids the costs of travel and the challenge of attempting to accommodate the schedules of many students. Available to single students or classes of all sizes, Progent's virtual training allows the trainer to run the seminar from an online facility while the clients can be spread throughout a campus or all over the country. Virtual education supports proven teaching tools such as broadcast white boards, real-time questions, and collaborative applications. Sessions can be brief and targeted to specialized topics or extended in duration and wider in coverage.

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    ProSight Email Content Filtering Policies Consultancy

    Progent's ProSight Email Guard uses the services and infrastructure of leading data security vendors to deliver web-based control and comprehensive protection for all your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local gateway appliance to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based threats. The Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and blocks most threats from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage. ProSight Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device adds a further level of inspection for incoming email. For outbound email, the onsite security gateway offers AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email that stays inside your corporate firewall.

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  • Specialists Amazon AWS hybrid cloud solutions Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud integration Services
  • Support and Help Offsite Data Backup Service Offsite DPM Data Backup Service Technology Consulting
  • Support and Integration 802.11ax Wireless Access Point Support and Setup
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  • Top Ranked Meraki Wave 2 AP Specialist Cisco Certified Expert Meraki Air Marshal Computer Consultants
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  • Urgent Microsoft Desktop Small Business Computer Consulting Firms PC Desktop Small Business Specialist
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  • Wave 2 wireless controller Computer Engineer Specialist wireless LAN controller

  • Troubleshooting Meraki MX router
    ISR 900 router Specialist

    Cisco offers a full product line of routers including routers built to deliver the security, bandwidth, and availability required by organizations ranging from branch offices to worldwide enterprises. Cisco routers include support for redundancy, transparent failthrough, and redundant power for improved reliability and system availability. Progent can help you choose and integrate Cisco routers to establish a solid foundation for your IT system and to make it easy to expand as you support new users, open new offices, install new services, open your network to clients and partners, and support a more mobile workforce. Progent offers help with a range of routers based on the Cisco IOS operating system, such as the Cisco 800 series of small business VPN routers, Cisco 1800 and 2800 Integrated Services Routers, Cisco 3900 and 4000 G2 ISR routers, Cisco ASR 1000 and 9000 Aggregation Services Routers for WAN edge environments, Cisco CRS Carrier Routing System for the network core, plus older 3600 and 3700 Series Routers.

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  • Consultant Remote Desktop Connection for Apple Mac
    VirtualPC for Apple Mac IT Services

    For companies that have a mix of Mac and Microsoft Windows computers, there exist two basic solutions for running Microsoft Windows-only applications on a Mac: an external connection to a physical Windows PC or local emulation of a Windows environment on a macOS or Mac OS X desktop. Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac allows you to attach an Apple Mac to a networked Windows-powered computer to use Windows software and access system resources. Microsoft's Virtual PC for Apple Mac simulates Microsoft Windows on a Mac system so that you are able to run Microsoft Windows software directly. Progent's macOS and Mac OS X technology consultants can help your company to manage these products for using Windows applications on your Macs and can also help you to evaluate and configure other products for Windows platform simulation.

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  • Network Consultant Redundant Internet
    Professional Microsoft Exchange Cluster

    Progentís Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity (DR/BC) consultants offer extensive experience helping small and mid-size organizations to reduce network downtime by providing cost-effective online consulting services for disaster recovery/business continuity planning, high-availability IT architecture, data backup and restore systems, and non-disruptive system maintenance. Progentís business continuity consultants can assist your company to plan and validate an efficient business continuity strategy that aligns with your business goals and IT budget. Progentís disaster recovery engineers can help you to design, implement, and manage fault-tolerant technologies such as redundant Internet access, virtualization, clustering, network load balancing, transparent off-site backup, and multi-location hot backup centers.

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    Amazon AWS enterprise hybrid cloud solutions Integration

    Progent offers affordable remote support to assist companies of any size to access Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for virtual server hosting, Amazon S3 for scalable high-performance storage, and Glacier for value-priced archival storage. Progent can assist you with every phase of Amazon AWS migration and troubleshooting including needs analysis, preparedness assessment, system design, testing, deployment, centralized administration, performance tuning, licensing management, disaster recovery mechanisms, and security and compliance. Progent offers advanced expertise with firewall configuration and VPN access and can help you create all-cloud or hybrid cloud ecosystems that seamlessly incorporate Amazon AWS cloud services. Progent offers occasional consulting to assist you to overcome complex technical issues or Progent can deliver comprehensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing to help you move to the Amazon AWS platform on time and within budget.

  • Windows Server 2016 Integration Remote Support Windows Server 2016 Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade IT Consulting
  • Windows Server 2016 Storage Replica Integration Windows Server 2016 PowerShell Network Engineer
  • Windows SharePoint Services Computer Engineer Remote Consulting SharePoint Server 2010
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  • Private Cloud Integration Engineers
    Professionals Virtual Server Private Cloud Hosting

    Progent's Private Cloud Hosting service offers complete hosting of a small or mid-size organization's servers in an environment that gives the highest level of dependability and scalability and is in addition easy to migrate to another host. Progent's Private Cloud Hosting options are based upon mature virtualization technologies that enable small companies with mixed- platform IT systems to save significantly on the costs of capital equipment, system support, and IT administration while benefiting from world-class reliability and an unmatched level of vendor flexibility.


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