Ransomware : Your Feared IT Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that poses an existential danger for businesses unprepared for an attack. Different versions of ransomware like the CrySIS, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for years and continue to cause harm. Newer variants of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Nephilim, as well as additional as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line information but also infiltrate many available system protection. Data synchronized to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable system, it can render automated restoration useless and effectively knocks the network back to square one.

Recovering services and information following a crypto-ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the targeted business struggles to contain and clear the virus and to restore business-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware takes time to spread, assaults are often sprung during weekends and nights, when successful penetrations typically take more time to recognize. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly marshalling and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent makes available a range of support services for securing businesses from ransomware penetrations. These include team member training to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus installation of next-generation security gateways with artificial intelligence capabilities to quickly detect and suppress zero-day cyber attacks. Progent also offers the services of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and commitment to restore a breached system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Following a ransomware event, sending the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber criminals will respond with the keys to decrypt all your information. Kaspersky ascertained that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the typical crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be around $13,000. The alternative is to re-install the critical elements of your IT environment. Without access to essential system backups, this calls for a wide range of skill sets, top notch team management, and the willingness to work continuously until the task is complete.

For decades, Progent has provided certified expert IT services for businesses in Guarulhos and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have attained top certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security consultants have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to rapidly ascertain important systems and consolidate the surviving components of your network system following a ransomware event and configure them into an operational network.

Progent's recovery group uses powerful 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 IT team members to prioritize tasks and to put key systems back on-line as fast as possible.

Client Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Restoration
A small business hired Progent after their network system was crashed by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is thought to have been developed by Northern Korean state hackers, possibly using techniques exposed from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific companies with little room for disruption and is among the most profitable examples of ransomware viruses. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business based in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk intrusion had paralyzed all company operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's system backups had been directly accessible at the beginning of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200K) and hoping for the best, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the expertise Progent provided us during the most fearful period of (our) company’s life. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs if it wasn’t for the confidence the Progent group gave us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and important servers back into operation sooner than a week was incredible. Every single staff member I got help from or messaged at Progent was amazingly focused on getting our company operational and was working 24 by 7 on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to rapidly assess and prioritize the key elements that had to be addressed to make it possible to restart company functions:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • E-Mail
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To start, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes incident mitigation industry best practices by halting lateral movement and removing active viruses. Progent then began the steps of bringing back online Microsoft Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not operate without AD, and the client's MRP applications leveraged SQL Server, which needs Windows AD for access to the database.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then performed rebuilding and hard drive recovery on key systems. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to collect local OST data files (Outlook Offline Data Files) on various PCs and laptops in order to recover mail information. A not too old off-line backup of the client's accounting/ERP systems made them able to recover these required applications back online for users. Although a large amount of work needed to be completed to recover totally from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation never missed a beat and we produced all customer deliverables."

During the following couple of weeks critical milestones in the restoration process were accomplished in tight collaboration between Progent team members and the client:

  • Self-hosted web applications were returned to operation with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Server exceeding four million archived emails was restored to operations and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were 100% restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought on-line.
  • Ninety percent of the user workstations were functioning as before the incident.

"A lot of what went on in the initial days is mostly a blur for me, but I will not soon forget the dedication all of your team put in to help get our company back. I have entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and each time Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This time was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A likely business disaster was avoided by dedicated experts, a wide range of knowledge, and tight collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware virus penetration described here could have been identified and blocked with modern security technology and recognized best practices, user and IT administrator training, and properly executed security procedures for data backup and applying software patches, the reality remains that state-sponsored hackers from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of professionals has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, removal, and information systems disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were involved), thank you for letting me get rested after we made it over the initial push. Everyone did an incredible effort, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"

To read or download a PDF version of this ransomware incident report, please click:
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers companies in Guarulhos a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize modern AI technology to detect zero-day variants of crypto-ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates cutting edge behavior-based machine learning tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade legacy signature-matching AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to automate the complete threat progression including blocking, identification, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver economical multi-layer security for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to cyber assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint control, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's unique needs and that helps you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security regulations. Progent will help you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alerts that call for immediate action. Progent can also help your company to install and verify a backup and disaster recovery solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack such as ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint security and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end service for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a fixed monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup activities and allows rapid recovery of vital files, apps and VMs that have become lost or corrupted due to component breakdowns, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can provide world-class support to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, when needed, can help you to recover your critical information. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

  • 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 incorporates the technology of top data security vendors to provide centralized control and world-class security for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway appliance to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks most threats from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and protect internal email that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, see ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller organizations to map out, track, optimize and debug their networking appliances such as switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network maps are always updated, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when problems are detected. By automating tedious management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding devices that require critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance bottlenecks. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent’s server and desktop monitoring managed service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the health of critical computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is sent immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that any potential problems can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the OS software, and the applications. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to a different hosting environment without requiring a time-consuming and difficult configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into one hosting provider. Find out more details 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 allows you to create, update, find and safeguard information about your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save as much as half of time wasted looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized repository for storing and collaborating on all documents required for managing your business network like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether you’re planning improvements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you need when you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Guarulhos 24x7 Crypto Recovery Consultants, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.