Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an enterprise-level threat for businesses poorly prepared for an assault. Versions of crypto-ransomware like the CrySIS, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for a long time and still inflict havoc. The latest strains of ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, as well as daily unnamed malware, not only encrypt online data files but also infect any configured system restores and backups. Information replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed environment, this can render automated restoration useless and effectively sets the network back to zero.
Getting back online services and data after a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against time as the targeted organization struggles to stop lateral movement and remove the crypto-ransomware and to resume business-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware needs time to move laterally, attacks are usually sprung at night, when attacks typically take more time to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of quickly assembling and orchestrating a qualified mitigation team.
Progent makes available a range of help services for securing businesses from crypto-ransomware penetrations. These include team member education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of the latest generation security appliances with artificial intelligence capabilities to intelligently discover and quarantine day-zero threats. Progent also provides the assistance of seasoned ransomware recovery consultants with the skills and perseverance to rebuild a breached network as urgently as possible.
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Following a crypto-ransomware penetration, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber criminals will respond with the codes to unencrypt any of your data. Kaspersky determined 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 frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The other path is to re-install the key parts of your IT environment. Without access to full data backups, this calls for a wide complement of IT skills, top notch project management, and the capability to work non-stop until the recovery project is over.
For decades, Progent has offered certified expert IT services for companies in Mission Viejo and throughout the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have been awarded advanced certifications in leading technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security experts have earned internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience in accounting and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the capability to knowledgably ascertain critical systems and organize the surviving pieces of your network system following a ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.
Progent's security team of experts deploys best of breed project management systems to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent understands the importance of working swiftly and in unison with a customerís management and IT team members to prioritize tasks and to get critical systems back on-line as soon as possible.
Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A business sought out Progent after their network system was attacked by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean state sponsored hackers, possibly using approaches leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific organizations with little or no tolerance for operational disruption and is among the most profitable iterations of crypto-ransomware. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturer based in Chicago and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's backups had been online at the beginning of the attack and were damaged. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom (more than two hundred thousand dollars) and praying for the best, but in the end brought in Progent.
"I canít thank you enough about the expertise Progent provided us throughout the most fearful time of (our) businesses survival. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs except for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. That you were able to get our e-mail system and important applications back into operation quicker than 1 week was earth shattering. Every single consultant I spoke to or communicated with at Progent was laser focused on getting us back online and was working all day and night to bail us out."
Progent worked with the client to rapidly understand and assign priority to the mission critical elements that had to be recovered in order to continue company functions:
To begin, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes incident mitigation industry best practices by isolating and clearing infected systems. Progent then started the task of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows technology. Exchange email will not operate without Windows AD, and the customerís MRP software used Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for authentication to the databases.
- Active Directory (AD)
- MRP System
In less than 2 days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-penetration state. Progent then assisted with reinstallations and hard drive recovery on key applications. All Exchange schema and configuration information were intact, which facilitated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to locate local OST files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on user PCs to recover mail messages. A recent off-line backup of the businesses manufacturing systems made it possible to return these required programs back online for users. Although significant work still had to be done to recover completely from the Ryuk damage, the most important services were recovered rapidly:
"For the most part, the production operation did not miss a beat and we produced all customer sales."
Throughout the next couple of weeks key milestones in the restoration process were accomplished in tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:
- Self-hosted web sites were restored without losing any information.
- The MailStore Server with over 4 million historical messages was brought online and accessible to users.
- CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/AP/AR/Inventory Control modules were completely functional.
- A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was deployed.
- Ninety percent of the desktop computers were operational.
"So much of what happened during the initial response is nearly entirely a fog for me, but we will not forget the commitment all of the team put in to give us our company back. I have entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This event was a stunning achievement."
A potential business-ending disaster was evaded with top-tier experts, a broad range of knowledge, and tight collaboration. Although in hindsight the crypto-ransomware attack described here would have been shut down with advanced cyber security technology and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff training, and properly executed security procedures for information protection and proper patching controls, the fact is that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of experts has extensive experience in ransomware virus defense, remediation, and data recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), Iím grateful for making it so I could get rested after we made it through the initial push. All of you did an fabulous job, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"
To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, click:
Progent's Ryuk Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers companies in Mission Viejo a range of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services include modern artificial intelligence capability to detect zero-day strains of ransomware that are able to escape detection by traditional signature-based security products.
For Mission Viejo 24-Hour CryptoLocker Removal Help, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates next generation behavior-based analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by legacy signature-matching AV products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to automate the complete threat lifecycle including filtering, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer affordable multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's unique needs and that helps you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security regulations. Progent will assist you define and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that require immediate action. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed service for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup activities and allows rapid restoration of critical data, apps and VMs that have become unavailable or corrupted as a result of component breakdowns, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can provide world-class support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when needed, can help you to restore your business-critical data. Learn 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 leading data security companies to provide web-based control and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local security gateway appliance to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne threats. The cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and keeps most threats from reaching your network firewall. This decreases your exposure to external attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device adds a further level of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the local security gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more details, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller organizations to map, monitor, reconfigure and debug their networking hardware such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are always current, captures and displays the configuration of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when potential issues are detected. By automating tedious management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks like making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding devices that need important updates, or isolating performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure management consulting.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to keep your IT system operating efficiently by checking the health of critical computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alarm is sent automatically to your specified IT management staff and your assigned Progent consultant so that all potential problems can be addressed before they can impact productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer owns the data, the OS software, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hosting solution without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into one hosting service. Find out more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.
- ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that makes it easy to create, update, retrieve and protect data about your network infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned about impending expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By updating and organizing your network documentation, you can save up to half of time thrown away looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and associating IT information. Whether youíre making improvements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you need the instant you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.