Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared IT Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that represents an extinction-level danger for organizations vulnerable to an assault. Different versions of ransomware like the Dharma, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and still inflict havoc. Newer strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Egregor, as well as daily as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online data but also infiltrate most available system backup. Data synched to the cloud can also be rendered useless. In a poorly architected system, it can make automatic restoration impossible and effectively sets the entire system back to square one.

Getting back online applications and information following a crypto-ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization tries its best to stop the spread and cleanup the crypto-ransomware and to restore mission-critical activity. Because ransomware takes time to replicate, assaults are usually launched during weekends and nights, when attacks in many cases take longer to notice. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and orchestrating a capable response team.

Progent makes available a range of help services for protecting organizations from ransomware penetrations. These include team member education to become familiar with and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of next-generation security appliances with artificial intelligence technology to intelligently detect and disable day-zero threats. Progent in addition offers the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and perseverance to restore a breached environment as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Following a ransomware penetration, sending the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber criminals will respond with the codes to unencrypt any or all of your data. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their information even after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the critical elements of your IT environment. Without the availability of essential information backups, this calls for a wide complement of skill sets, well-coordinated team management, and the ability to work continuously until the task is over.

For decades, Progent has provided professional Information Technology services for companies in Philadelphia and throughout the United States and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained advanced certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in accounting and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the capability to efficiently ascertain critical systems and re-organize the surviving parts of your network system following a ransomware attack and configure them into a functioning system.

Progent's ransomware team of experts uses best of breed project management systems to orchestrate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent understands the importance of acting rapidly and together with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to get the most important applications back on-line as soon as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Intrusion Response
A small business sought out Progent after their company was attacked by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been launched by North Korean state sponsored hackers, suspected of using approaches exposed from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific companies with little tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative versions of ransomware viruses. Major organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturer headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had frozen all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's system backups had been directly accessible at the start of the attack and were destroyed. The client considered paying the ransom (more than $200,000) and wishfully thinking for the best, but ultimately brought in Progent.


"I canít thank you enough in regards to the care Progent gave us throughout the most stressful time of (our) companyís existence. We would have paid the Hackers except for the confidence the Progent group gave us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail and essential applications back quicker than five days was amazing. Every single expert I got help from or communicated with at Progent was hell bent on getting our system up and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the customer to rapidly assess and prioritize the most important applications that had to be addressed in order to restart departmental functions:

  • Active Directory
  • E-Mail
  • Accounting/MRP
To get going, Progent followed ransomware event response industry best practices by stopping the spread and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then initiated the task of recovering Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not operate without Windows AD, and the client's accounting and MRP applications leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for security authorization to the databases.

In less than two days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then completed setup and hard drive recovery of essential systems. All Exchange schema and attributes were usable, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate non-encrypted OST files (Outlook Email Off-Line Folder Files) on staff PCs and laptops to recover email data. A recent off-line backup of the businesses manufacturing systems made it possible to recover these vital services back on-line. Although a large amount of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, critical services were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation did not miss a beat and we made all customer shipments."

Throughout the following few weeks critical milestones in the restoration process were made through close cooperation between Progent team members and the client:

  • Self-hosted web sites were restored without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over four million historical messages was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory functions were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was installed.
  • Ninety percent of the user PCs were functioning as before the incident.

"Much of what happened that first week is mostly a fog for me, but we will not soon forget the commitment each of your team put in to give us our company back. I have entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered. This situation was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A likely business-killing catastrophe was evaded with hard-working professionals, a wide range of technical expertise, and tight teamwork. Although in post mortem the ransomware penetration described here should have been shut down with up-to-date cyber security technology solutions and security best practices, user and IT administrator education, and appropriate security procedures for backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the fact is that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus defense, remediation, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were involved), thank you for letting me get rested after we got over the most critical parts. All of you did an impressive job, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Philadelphia a portfolio of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence technology to uncover new variants of ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that utilizes next generation behavior-based analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by traditional signature-matching AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to address the entire threat progression including filtering, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer ultra-affordable multi-layer security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device management, and web filtering via cutting-edge tools incorporated within one agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to plan and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's unique needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data protection regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alarms that call for urgent attention. Progent can also assist your company to install and verify a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a potentially disastrous security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup activities and allows fast recovery of vital data, apps and virtual machines that have become unavailable or damaged as a result of hardware failures, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or mirrored to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can provide advanced support to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever necessary, can help you to restore your critical data. Find out more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering service that uses the infrastructure of leading information security vendors to deliver centralized control and comprehensive protection for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local security gateway appliance to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. The cloud filter serves as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device adds a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises security gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more information, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map, monitor, optimize and debug their connectivity hardware like routers, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology maps are always updated, captures and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when problems are discovered. By automating complex management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores like making network diagrams, expanding your network, locating appliances that need important software patches, or resolving performance problems. Learn 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 managed service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your IT system running efficiently by checking the state of critical assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is sent automatically to your specified IT personnel and your Progent consultant so any looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its key servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and managed by Progent's network support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the OS software, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hosting solution without a lengthy and difficult reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting provider. Learn more details 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 network infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and managing your IT documentation, you can eliminate as much as 50% of time thrown away looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for collecting and relating IT information. Whether youíre making enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need as soon as you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24x7x365 Philadelphia Ransomware Remediation Consultants, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.