Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Remediation ProfessionalsRansomware has become a modern cyberplague that presents an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an attack. Multiple generations of crypto-ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for a long time and still cause destruction. Recent variants of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Lockbit or Egregor, along with additional as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt online information but also infiltrate most available system backup. Data synched to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable system, it can render automatic restore operations hopeless and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.

Recovering programs and information after a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the targeted organization struggles to contain the damage and remove the crypto-ransomware and to restore mission-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware needs time to move laterally, assaults are usually launched at night, when successful attacks are likely to take more time to uncover. This multiplies the difficulty of promptly mobilizing and organizing a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent has a variety of services for securing organizations from ransomware attacks. These include staff education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus setup and configuration of the latest generation security appliances with artificial intelligence technology to intelligently identify and quarantine zero-day threats. Progent in addition provides the assistance of expert crypto-ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and commitment to restore a compromised environment as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Subsequent to a ransomware event, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will return the needed keys to decrypt all your files. Kaspersky Labs estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be around $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the key elements of your IT environment. Without the availability of complete information backups, this calls for a wide range of skills, well-coordinated project management, and the ability to work non-stop until the task is completed.

For two decades, Progent has made available certified expert IT services for businesses in Lubbock and across the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have attained advanced industry certifications in leading technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's security specialists have earned internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise in financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the ability to quickly understand critical systems and organize the surviving pieces of your IT environment following a ransomware attack and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's security team of experts has powerful project management applications to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of acting rapidly and together with a customerís management and IT resources to assign priority to tasks and to put the most important services back online as fast as humanly possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Attack Response
A customer hired Progent after their network was penetrated by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been developed by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly using technology leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with limited tolerance for disruption and is one of the most profitable instances of ransomware. Major victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing business headquartered in Chicago and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk intrusion had shut down all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data backups had been online at the time of the intrusion and were destroyed. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (in excess of two hundred thousand dollars) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately utilized Progent.


"I canít tell you enough in regards to the care Progent gave us throughout the most stressful time of (our) businesses survival. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals if not for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. The fact that you could get our e-mail system and key servers back quicker than five days was something I thought impossible. Each staff member I interacted with or messaged at Progent was laser focused on getting our system up and was working 24/7 to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to rapidly assess and assign priority to the critical elements that needed to be addressed in order to restart departmental operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus event mitigation industry best practices by halting the spread and performing virus removal steps. Progent then initiated the work of restoring Active Directory, the core of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not operate without AD, and the client's financials and MRP software utilized SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for authentication to the information.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then helped perform rebuilding and storage recovery on mission critical systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server data and attributes were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to assemble non-encrypted OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user PCs in order to recover email information. A recent offline backup of the client's accounting software made it possible to return these vital applications back online for users. Although a lot of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk virus, the most important systems were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation survived unscathed and we produced all customer shipments."

Throughout the next couple of weeks key milestones in the recovery project were achieved in tight cooperation between Progent team members and the client:

  • Self-hosted web applications were returned to operation without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Server with over 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables/Inventory capabilities were 100 percent restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was brought on-line.
  • Nearly all of the desktop computers were fully operational.

"So much of what was accomplished in the early hours is nearly entirely a blur for me, but our team will not forget the urgency each of the team accomplished to give us our company back. Iíve been working together with Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This time was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A probable company-ending disaster was dodged through the efforts of top-tier experts, a broad array of technical expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in post mortem the crypto-ransomware virus attack described here could have been blocked with advanced cyber security technology solutions and security best practices, user education, and well designed incident response procedures for data protection and proper patching controls, the fact remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incident, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and information systems recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), thank you for allowing me to get some sleep after we got through the first week. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Lubbock a portfolio of remote monitoring and security evaluation services to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern machine learning technology to detect new variants of ransomware that are able to evade legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to manage the complete threat progression including protection, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Key features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services offer economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP delivers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device management, and web filtering through leading-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's specific needs and that allows you prove compliance with legal and industry information security standards. Progent will help you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alarms that call for immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business rapidly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized businesses an affordable end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup activities and enables fast restoration of critical files, apps and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory standards such as HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, when necessary, can help you to recover your business-critical data. Read 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 and email encryption service that uses the technology of leading information security vendors to provide centralized control and comprehensive protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway device to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and blocks most unwanted email from reaching your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to external threats and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway appliance provides a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the onsite security gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The on-premises security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more details, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for smaller organizations to diagram, track, optimize and debug their networking hardware such as routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, client computers and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network diagrams are always updated, captures and manages the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and sends alerts when issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming network management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that require critical updates, or isolating performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your network running efficiently by tracking the state of critical computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alarm is transmitted immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your Progent consultant so that all looming issues can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual host configured and managed by Progent's network support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hosting solution without a lengthy and difficult reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one hosting service. Learn more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, retrieve and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time thrown away searching for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your business network such as standard operating procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for collecting and relating IT data. Whether youíre planning improvements, doing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you need the instant you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Lubbock 24-7 Ransomware Repair Help, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.