Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that presents an extinction-level danger for businesses vulnerable to an assault. Different versions of crypto-ransomware like the Dharma, WannaCry, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for many years and still inflict damage. Modern strains of crypto-ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, plus additional as yet unnamed malware, not only do encryption of on-line information but also infect any available system protection mechanisms. Files replicated to cloud environments can also be rendered useless. In a poorly architected environment, this can render any recovery useless and basically sets the network back to square one.
Getting back on-line applications and data after a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization fights to contain and eradicate the ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware requires time to replicate, assaults are often launched during weekends and nights, when penetrations tend to take longer to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and organizing an experienced response team.
Progent makes available a variety of solutions for protecting businesses from ransomware events. Among these are team training to help recognize and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to setup and configuration of next-generation security solutions with artificial intelligence capabilities to automatically discover and quarantine day-zero cyber threats. Progent in addition can provide the services of veteran crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the skills and commitment to rebuild a breached network as urgently as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Restoration Support Services
Subsequent to a crypto-ransomware event, paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will respond with the keys to decrypt all your information. Kaspersky determined that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their files even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The alternative is to setup from scratch the key components of your IT environment. Without access to full information backups, this calls for a wide complement of skill sets, top notch project management, and the capability to work continuously until the task is completed.
For twenty years, Progent has offered certified expert IT services for businesses in Greensboro and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have been awarded top certifications in leading technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security specialists have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to rapidly identify important systems and re-organize the remaining pieces of your network environment after a ransomware event and configure them into a functioning system.
Progent's ransomware team has top notch project management systems to orchestrate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent understands the importance of working swiftly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology resources to prioritize tasks and to get the most important services back on-line as soon as possible.
Client Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Response
A business engaged Progent after their company was taken over by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is generally considered to have been launched by Northern Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting algorithms leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific companies with limited ability to sustain operational disruption and is one of the most profitable iterations of ransomware malware. Well Known victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturer located in Chicago with about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had disabled all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's data protection had been directly accessible at the start of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (more than $200K) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end reached out to Progent.
"I cannot tell you enough in regards to the help Progent gave us during the most stressful period of (our) companyís existence. We may have had to pay the Hackers if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. That you could get our e-mail system and production servers back into operation faster than seven days was something I thought impossible. Each consultant I spoke to or texted at Progent was amazingly focused on getting us back on-line and was working non-stop to bail us out."
Progent worked with the client to quickly identify and prioritize the essential areas that needed to be restored to make it possible to continue business functions:
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus penetration mitigation industry best practices by halting the spread and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then initiated the steps of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built on Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not work without AD, and the businessesí accounting and MRP applications leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for security authorization to the information.
- Windows Active Directory
- Exchange Server
- MRP System
Within 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then performed rebuilding and storage recovery on key applications. All Microsoft Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user PCs and laptops to recover email data. A recent off-line backup of the businesses financials/MRP systems made them able to restore these required programs back servicing users. Although a lot of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, critical services were restored quickly:
"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation survived unscathed and we delivered all customer orders."
Over the following couple of weeks critical milestones in the recovery process were completed through tight cooperation between Progent team members and the client:
- Internal web applications were restored without losing any data.
- The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding 4 million historical emails was brought on-line and available for users.
- CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control functions were 100% recovered.
- A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was installed.
- Ninety percent of the desktop computers were functioning as before the incident.
"A lot of what was accomplished in the early hours is nearly entirely a fog for me, but we will not soon forget the countless hours all of you accomplished to help get our business back. I have entrusted Progent for the past ten years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered. This time was no exception but maybe more Herculean."
A potential business catastrophe was averted with dedicated professionals, a wide range of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware penetration detailed here could have been identified and disabled with up-to-date security systems and best practices, user education, and properly executed incident response procedures for information backup and applying software patches, the fact remains that state-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware incident, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has proven experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and information systems restoration.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were contributing), thanks very much for making it so I could get rested after we got past the first week. All of you did an incredible effort, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"
To read or download a PDF version of this customer story, please click:
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers businesses in Greensboro a range of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern artificial intelligence capability to detect zero-day variants of crypto-ransomware that are able to escape detection by traditional signature-based anti-virus solutions.
For Greensboro 24x7 Crypto Repair Consultants, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
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- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
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- ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
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