Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Disaster
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that presents an enterprise-level danger for organizations poorly prepared for an attack. Different versions of crypto-ransomware like the Reveton, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and still inflict havoc. More recent variants of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk and Hermes, along with daily unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online data but also infect many available system restores and backups. Information synched to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed environment, it can make any restoration impossible and effectively knocks the entire system back to square one.

Getting back on-line applications and data after a ransomware attack becomes a race against time as the targeted business tries its best to contain and remove the crypto-ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical activity. Since ransomware takes time to replicate, assaults are usually sprung during nights and weekends, when successful attacks tend to take longer to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of quickly assembling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent has a variety of help services for protecting enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are user training to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to installation of modern security appliances with machine learning technology to automatically detect and extinguish zero-day cyber threats. Progent also offers the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery consultants with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a breached system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Soon after a crypto-ransomware attack, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that distant criminals will return the needed codes to unencrypt all your data. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their files after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be approximately $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the essential elements of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of full information backups, this calls for a broad range of skill sets, professional team management, and the capability to work continuously until the job is completed.

For decades, Progent has provided expert Information Technology services for businesses in Ontario and throughout the United States and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have been awarded high-level certifications in foundation technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity engineers have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to rapidly understand important systems and integrate the surviving parts of your network system following a ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's ransomware team of experts has best of breed project management systems to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of acting quickly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to put critical services back on-line as soon as possible.

Client Story: A Successful Ransomware Attack Recovery
A client contacted Progent after their company was penetrated by the Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is generally considered to have been launched by North Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of using technology exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific companies with little ability to sustain operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative versions of ransomware viruses. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing company based in Chicago with about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had paralyzed all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's information backups had been on-line at the beginning of the attack and were destroyed. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom (in excess of $200,000) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I canít tell you enough about the help Progent gave us during the most fearful period of (our) companyís existence. We would have paid the cyber criminals if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent experts provided us. That you were able to get our e-mail and production applications back into operation quicker than one week was beyond my wildest dreams. Each consultant I got help from or communicated with at Progent was laser focused on getting us back on-line and was working 24/7 to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to quickly assess and assign priority to the key elements that needed to be restored to make it possible to resume company functions:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • E-Mail
  • Financials/MRP
To begin, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes event response industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and removing active viruses. Progent then initiated the task of bringing back online Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Exchange email will not operate without Active Directory, and the customerís accounting and MRP software utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for security authorization to the databases.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to restore Windows Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then initiated reinstallations and hard drive recovery on essential systems. All Exchange data and attributes were usable, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to locate non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on various desktop computers and laptops in order to recover mail information. A recent off-line backup of the client's manufacturing systems made it possible to restore these vital services back available to users. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation was never shut down and we did not miss any customer deliverables."

During the following month critical milestones in the recovery process were achieved through tight cooperation between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web sites were returned to operation with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding 4 million historical emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/AP/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was set up.
  • Nearly all of the user desktops and notebooks were operational.

"A lot of what transpired that first week is nearly entirely a fog for me, but I will not forget the dedication each and every one of the team put in to help get our company back. I have entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This event was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A possible company-ending disaster was averted due to hard-working experts, a broad spectrum of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although in hindsight the ransomware penetration detailed here should have been blocked with advanced security solutions and security best practices, user training, and properly executed incident response procedures for backup and proper patching controls, the reality is that state-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has a proven track record in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and information systems disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (along with others who were helping), Iím grateful for letting me get rested after we made it over the first week. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if anyone that helped is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Ontario a variety of remote monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services utilize modern AI capability to detect zero-day strains of ransomware that are able to get past traditional signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates cutting edge behavior-based machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including filtering, detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services deliver affordable multi-layer security for physical servers and VMs, desktops, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced heuristics for continuously monitoring and responding to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device management, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can help you to plan and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that helps you prove compliance with government and industry data protection regulations. Progent will assist you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that call for urgent attention. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services offer small and mid-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery. For a fixed monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup activities and allows fast restoration of critical data, apps and VMs that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware failures, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver advanced expertise to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory standards such as HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever necessary, can assist you to restore your critical data. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering service that incorporates the infrastructure of leading data security vendors to deliver centralized management and world-class security for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises security gateway appliance to provide advanced defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's cloud filter acts as a first line of defense and keeps most unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device adds a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The on-premises security gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more details, see ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for small and mid-sized organizations to map out, monitor, enhance and debug their networking hardware such as routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are always current, copies and manages the configuration of almost all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends notices when issues are discovered. By automating complex management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks like making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that require important software patches, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Learn more details 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 managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your IT system operating efficiently by checking the state of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is sent immediately to your designated IT personnel and your Progent consultant so any looming issues can be resolved before they can disrupt your network. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware solution without a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one hosting service. Find out more details about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, retrieve and safeguard information about your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about impending expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your IT documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time spent looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and relating IT data. Whether youíre planning enhancements, performing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you require as soon as you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Ontario 24/7 Ransomware Removal Consultants, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.