Crypto-Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an enterprise-level danger for businesses unprepared for an attack. Versions of crypto-ransomware like the Reveton, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and still cause destruction. Modern versions of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk and Hermes, along with frequent as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online critical data but also infect all available system backups. Information synched to the cloud can also be corrupted. In a poorly architected data protection solution, it can make automated restoration impossible and basically knocks the entire system back to square one.

Retrieving applications and information after a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted business fights to stop lateral movement and eradicate the virus and to restore business-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware needs time to spread, assaults are frequently sprung on weekends, when successful attacks typically take more time to notice. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly marshalling and organizing a capable mitigation team.

Progent has a variety of services for protecting businesses from ransomware penetrations. Among these are user education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with setup and configuration of the latest generation security appliances with artificial intelligence technology to intelligently identify and suppress new cyber attacks. Progent in addition provides the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the track record and commitment to rebuild a breached system as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services
After a ransomware attack, paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber hackers will respond with the codes to unencrypt any of your files. Kaspersky Labs determined that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the critical parts of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of full information backups, this requires a broad complement of skills, professional project management, and the ability to work non-stop until the job is complete.

For twenty years, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for companies in Eugene and throughout the US and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained advanced certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security specialists have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the capability to rapidly understand important systems and integrate the remaining components of your Information Technology system after a ransomware event and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's ransomware team of experts uses best of breed project management systems to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent understands the urgency of working rapidly and together with a customerís management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to put critical systems back on line as soon as humanly possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Virus Response
A small business hired Progent after their organization was attacked by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been developed by Northern Korean state hackers, possibly adopting technology leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific companies with little or no ability to sustain operational disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware malware. High publicized victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturing company based in Chicago with about 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had brought down all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's information backups had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200,000) and praying for good luck, but in the end made the decision to use Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most critical time of (our) companyís life. We would have paid the Hackers if not for the confidence the Progent team provided us. That you could get our e-mail and important servers back on-line in less than five days was amazing. Each expert I talked with or messaged at Progent was laser focused on getting our system up and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to quickly assess and assign priority to the mission critical services that had to be restored in order to continue business functions:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Electronic Mail
  • Financials/MRP
To start, Progent followed Anti-virus penetration mitigation industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then initiated the process of recovering Microsoft AD, the core of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft technology. Exchange email will not function without Active Directory, and the customerís accounting and MRP software used Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory for access to the data.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to restore Windows Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then completed rebuilding and hard drive recovery of mission critical servers. All Exchange schema and attributes were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate intact OST data files (Outlook Email Offline Data Files) on user workstations in order to recover email messages. A recent offline backup of the customerís accounting/ERP software made it possible to recover these essential applications back available to users. Although major work still had to be done to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation survived unscathed and we delivered all customer orders."

Throughout the following month key milestones in the recovery project were achieved in tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the client:

  • In-house web sites were returned to operation without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding 4 million historical emails was brought online and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory modules were 100 percent recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was brought online.
  • Ninety percent of the user desktops were operational.

"Much of what happened that first week is nearly entirely a haze for me, but I will not forget the care each and every one of you put in to help get our company back. I have trusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This time was no exception but maybe more Herculean."

Conclusion
A probable business-killing disaster was evaded with results-oriented professionals, a broad array of technical expertise, and close collaboration. Although in hindsight the crypto-ransomware virus penetration described here could have been shut down with current cyber security systems and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user and IT administrator training, and appropriate security procedures for data backup and applying software patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and file restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (and any others that were contributing), thank you for allowing me to get rested after we made it through the initial push. All of you did an impressive effort, and if any of your guys is around the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers companies in Eugene a portfolio of remote monitoring and security evaluation services to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence technology to detect new variants of crypto-ransomware that can escape detection by legacy signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that utilizes cutting edge behavior analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to automate the complete malware attack lifecycle including protection, identification, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver economical in-depth security for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a single console. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's unique requirements and that helps you prove compliance with government and industry information security standards. Progent will assist you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that require immediate attention. Progent can also help you to set up and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. Available at a fixed monthly price, ProSight DPS automates your backup processes and enables fast restoration of critical data, applications and VMs that have become lost or damaged due to component failures, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can deliver advanced expertise to set up ProSight DPS to be compliant with regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, whenever necessary, can help you to restore your business-critical data. 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 service that uses the technology of top data security vendors to deliver centralized management and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with a local security gateway appliance to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and blocks most unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound threats and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite security gateway appliance adds a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more details, visit 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 simple and affordable for small and mid-sized organizations to map, track, enhance and debug their networking hardware like switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, captures and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and sends alerts when potential issues are detected. By automating complex management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that require critical software patches, or isolating performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management techniques to keep your IT system running at peak levels by checking the health of vital assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is sent immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so all potential issues can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt productivity. 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 business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hardware environment without a lengthy and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one hosting provider. Learn 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and safeguard information related to your network infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSLs or domains. By updating and organizing your network documentation, you can save up to half of time spent trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your business network like recommended procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether youíre planning enhancements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the information you need when you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24/7 Eugene Crypto Recovery Support Services, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.