Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that poses an enterprise-level threat for businesses poorly prepared for an attack. Different versions of ransomware like the Reveton, WannaCry, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and continue to cause harm. The latest versions of ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, along with daily as yet unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt on-line critical data but also infect most accessible system backup. Data replicated to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly architected data protection solution, it can make automatic restore operations hopeless and basically knocks the entire system back to square one.
Retrieving applications and data after a ransomware attack becomes a race against the clock as the targeted organization fights to contain and clear the virus and to restore mission-critical operations. Because crypto-ransomware requires time to move laterally, penetrations are often sprung at night, when penetrations typically take more time to detect. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly assembling and organizing a qualified response team.
Progent makes available a range of solutions for securing organizations from ransomware attacks. These include user training to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with setup and configuration of the latest generation security solutions with artificial intelligence capabilities to rapidly identify and extinguish day-zero cyber threats. Progent also offers the assistance of experienced ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and perseverance to reconstruct a breached network as quickly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Subsequent to a ransomware event, paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber criminals will respond with the needed codes to decipher all your data. Kaspersky determined that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their information after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the mission-critical parts of your Information Technology environment. Without access to complete data backups, this calls for a wide range of skills, top notch project management, and the capability to work continuously until the recovery project is finished.
For decades, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for businesses in Downers Grove and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have attained advanced industry certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience gives Progent the capability to knowledgably ascertain important systems and integrate the surviving parts of your computer network environment following a ransomware attack and configure them into an operational network.
Progent's security team of experts has powerful project management systems to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working quickly and in unison with a client's management and IT staff to prioritize tasks and to put the most important services back on line as fast as possible.
Client Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Incident Restoration
A client contacted Progent after their network system was attacked by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is thought to have been deployed by North Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting techniques leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific businesses with little tolerance for disruption and is one of the most profitable iterations of crypto-ransomware. Well Known targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturer based in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk intrusion had paralyzed all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data backups had been online at the time of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (exceeding $200K) and praying for good luck, but ultimately made the decision to use Progent.
"I canít say enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us during the most fearful time of (our) businesses survival. We had little choice but to pay the cybercriminals if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent group provided us. That you were able to get our e-mail and production applications back into operation sooner than 1 week was something I thought impossible. Each consultant I interacted with or e-mailed at Progent was urgently focused on getting our company operational and was working day and night on our behalf."
Progent worked hand in hand the client to quickly determine and prioritize the critical services that had to be recovered to make it possible to resume departmental functions:
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus incident response best practices by stopping the spread and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then began the steps of recovering Windows Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not operate without Windows AD, and the businessesí accounting and MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for security authorization to the databases.
- Microsoft Active Directory
- Electronic Mail
Within 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then accomplished setup and hard drive recovery of the most important applications. All Exchange ties and attributes were usable, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to find local OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Data Files) on team PCs to recover email messages. A not too old offline backup of the customerís financials/MRP software made them able to recover these required services back on-line. Although major work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, critical services were restored quickly:
"For the most part, the manufacturing operation was never shut down and we produced all customer shipments."
Over the next month critical milestones in the restoration process were completed through close collaboration between Progent team members and the client:
- In-house web sites were brought back up without losing any data.
- The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
- CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/AR/Inventory Control modules were 100% operational.
- A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was brought online.
- 90% of the desktops and laptops were back into operation.
"So much of what went on that first week is mostly a haze for me, but my team will not forget the dedication each and every one of you put in to help get our company back. I have been working with Progent for the past ten years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This time was no exception but maybe more Herculean."
A possible business extinction disaster was averted with top-tier experts, a wide array of subject matter expertise, and close collaboration. Although in hindsight the crypto-ransomware attack described here would have been identified and stopped with up-to-date cyber security solutions and best practices, staff training, and properly executed incident response procedures for backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and will continue. If you do get hit by a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and file disaster recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), Iím grateful for letting me get rested after we made it through the initial fire. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if any of your guys is in the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"
To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, please click:
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Downers Grove a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern machine learning capability to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that are able to escape detection by traditional signature-based anti-virus solutions.
For 24/7/365 Downers Grove CryptoLocker Repair Help, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
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- ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
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