Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that poses an existential threat for businesses unprepared for an attack. Different iterations of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, Fusob, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for a long time and still cause damage. More recent variants of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Snatch or Egregor, along with more as yet unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt online critical data but also infiltrate most available system protection. Files synched to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed data protection solution, it can render automated restore operations impossible and effectively knocks the datacenter back to square one.

Restoring programs and data after a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the targeted business fights to contain and clear the ransomware and to restore mission-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware requires time to move laterally, assaults are frequently launched on weekends, when penetrations typically take more time to discover. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and coordinating an experienced response team.

Progent makes available an assortment of solutions for protecting businesses from crypto-ransomware penetrations. Among these are staff training to become familiar with and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of modern security gateways with AI capabilities to quickly identify and quarantine zero-day threats. Progent also provides the services of experienced ransomware recovery professionals with the track record and perseverance to rebuild a breached network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
After a crypto-ransomware attack, even paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that distant criminals will return the needed keys to decipher all your data. Kaspersky estimated that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be approximately $13,000. The other path is to setup from scratch the vital parts of your IT environment. Without the availability of essential data backups, this requires a wide complement of skills, top notch project management, and the willingness to work continuously until the job is completed.

For two decades, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for companies in Allentown and 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 attained high-level industry certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity consultants have earned internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with accounting and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the ability to knowledgably understand necessary systems and integrate the surviving components of your network environment after a ransomware penetration and configure them into an operational system.

Progent's security group deploys top notch project management tools to orchestrate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent understands the urgency of working quickly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to get the most important systems back online as soon as possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Penetration Restoration
A customer sought out Progent after their organization was attacked by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been developed by Northern Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using approaches leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little or no room for operational disruption and is among the most profitable instances of ransomware viruses. Headline organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business located in Chicago with about 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data protection had been online at the time of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom demand (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and hoping for good luck, but in the end made the decision to use Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the help Progent gave us throughout the most stressful period of (our) companyís survival. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs except for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. That you could get our e-mail system and essential servers back online quicker than a week was beyond my wildest dreams. Each expert I got help from or messaged at Progent was totally committed on getting our system up and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked with the customer to quickly understand and prioritize the key elements that had to be restored to make it possible to continue company functions:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Email
  • Accounting/MRP
To start, Progent followed Anti-virus penetration mitigation best practices by halting lateral movement and removing active viruses. Progent then started the process of rebuilding Microsoft AD, the core of enterprise networks built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Windows AD, and the businessesí accounting and MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory for security authorization to the information.

In less than two days, Progent was able to rebuild Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then performed rebuilding and hard drive recovery of needed systems. All Exchange Server data and attributes were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble intact OST data files (Outlook Email Offline Folder Files) on various workstations and laptops in order to recover mail information. A not too old off-line backup of the client's accounting/ERP software made them able to recover these vital services back available to users. Although a lot of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, core services were restored rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation showed little impact and we did not miss any customer orders."

During the next month critical milestones in the restoration process were completed through close collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Internal web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over 4 million historical emails was brought on-line and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control capabilities were completely recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • 90% of the desktop computers were operational.

"Much of what occurred those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but I will not forget the commitment each and every one of the team accomplished to give us our company back. I have entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This event was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A likely company-ending catastrophe was averted by results-oriented experts, a broad array of subject matter expertise, and close collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware virus incident described here could have been identified and disabled with modern cyber security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, staff education, and well thought out security procedures for data protection and proper patching controls, the fact remains that state-sponsored hackers from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and are not going away. If you do fall victim to a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has extensive experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and file disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (and any others that were helping), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it past the first week. All of you did an amazing job, and if any of your guys is around the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

To read or download a PDF version of this customer story, click:
Progent's Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Allentown a variety of remote monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services include modern artificial intelligence technology to uncover zero-day strains of ransomware that can get past traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior-based machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to address the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, identification, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against new attacks. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, penetration alarms, device control, and web filtering through leading-edge tools packaged within a single agent managed from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist your business to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's specific needs and that helps you prove compliance with legal and industry data protection standards. Progent will help you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alerts that require immediate action. Progent's consultants can also assist you to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of vital files, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged as a result of component failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or to both. Progent's backup and recovery consultants can deliver world-class support to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to to comply with regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, when necessary, can assist you to restore your business-critical data. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup.

  • 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 infrastructure of top information security vendors to deliver web-based control and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway device to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This reduces your exposure to external threats and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway appliance adds a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the onsite gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more information, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map, track, enhance and debug their connectivity appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, printers, client computers and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are always updated, captures and manages the configuration information of almost all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when problems are detected. By automating tedious management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that require critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to help keep your IT system running efficiently by tracking the state of vital computers that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alarm is sent immediately to your designated IT staff and your Progent consultant so that all potential problems can be addressed before they can impact productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its key servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's network support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer owns the data, the OS software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be ported easily to a different hosting solution without a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one hosting provider. 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, update, find and protect data related to your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and organizing your IT documentation, you can save up to 50% of time wasted trying to find critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized repository for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your business network such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and relating IT data. Whether youíre making enhancements, performing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you require when you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Allentown 24x7 Crypto-Ransomware Cleanup Consultants, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.