Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become an escalating cyberplague that presents an existential threat for businesses poorly prepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware like the Reveton, Fusob, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for a long time and still inflict destruction. Recent variants of ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, as well as frequent as yet unnamed malware, not only do encryption of online critical data but also infiltrate many accessible system backup. Files synched to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a poorly architected environment, it can render automated recovery hopeless and basically sets the datacenter back to square one.

Restoring programs and information following a crypto-ransomware outage becomes a race against the clock as the targeted business tries its best to stop lateral movement and remove the virus and to resume mission-critical operations. Since ransomware takes time to move laterally, penetrations are usually launched on weekends and holidays, when attacks may take more time to identify. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly assembling and organizing a qualified response team.

Progent provides a range of services for protecting organizations from ransomware events. These include user training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of the latest generation security appliances with AI capabilities to rapidly detect and suppress day-zero cyber threats. Progent in addition can provide the assistance of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the talent and commitment to rebuild a breached environment as quickly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Help
Subsequent to a crypto-ransomware event, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber hackers will provide the codes to unencrypt any or all of your data. Kaspersky determined that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their files even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 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 setup from scratch the key parts of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of complete system backups, this calls for a wide range of skills, professional project management, and the willingness to work continuously until the task is over.

For two decades, Progent has made available expert Information Technology services for companies in San Mateo and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained top certifications in foundation technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's security consultants have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience in financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the ability to efficiently determine necessary systems and integrate the remaining components of your computer network environment after a crypto-ransomware penetration and rebuild them into a functioning system.

Progent's recovery team of experts uses top notch project management applications to orchestrate the complex recovery process. Progent understands the importance of acting rapidly and in unison with a client's management and IT staff to assign priority to tasks and to get critical services back on-line as fast as possible.

Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Restoration
A business hired Progent after their organization was penetrated by the Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been deployed by North Korean government sponsored hackers, suspected of using approaches leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific organizations with little room for operational disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of crypto-ransomware. Well Known organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business based in the Chicago metro area with around 500 staff members. The Ryuk attack had shut down all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's data protection had been directly accessible at the beginning of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (in excess of two hundred thousand dollars) and praying for good luck, but ultimately made the decision to use Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough about the support Progent gave us during the most critical time of (our) companyís existence. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack except for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you were able to get our messaging and critical servers back quicker than 1 week was incredible. Every single consultant I got help from or communicated with at Progent was urgently focused on getting our system up and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the customer to rapidly get our arms around and assign priority to the most important systems that had to be restored to make it possible to resume company operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes incident response best practices by halting the spread and performing virus removal steps. Progent then started the task of recovering Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise environments built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server messaging will not operate without Windows AD, and the businessesí accounting and MRP system leveraged Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory for authentication to the data.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then initiated setup and storage recovery on needed systems. All Exchange Server data and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to locate intact OST files (Outlook Email Off-Line Folder Files) on team PCs and laptops in order to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the client's accounting software made it possible to recover these essential services back online for users. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, essential systems were restored rapidly:


"For the most part, the production operation did not miss a beat and we delivered all customer shipments."

Throughout the following month key milestones in the restoration process were achieved through close cooperation between Progent consultants and the client:

  • Internal web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than 4 million historical emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were completely operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was set up and programmed.
  • Ninety percent of the desktop computers were being used by staff.

"So much of what went on in the early hours is nearly entirely a haze for me, but I will not forget the care each and every one of the team accomplished to help get our business back. Iíve been working with Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This time was a Herculean accomplishment."

Conclusion
A probable enterprise-killing catastrophe was dodged through the efforts of hard-working professionals, a broad spectrum of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although in hindsight the ransomware attack detailed here should have been blocked with advanced security solutions and best practices, user and IT administrator training, and well thought out incident response procedures for data backup and applying software patches, the fact remains that state-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incident, remember that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and data recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (along with others that were helping), Iím grateful for allowing me to get rested after we got past the initial push. Everyone did an impressive 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 customer story, click:
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in San Mateo a portfolio of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize next-generation artificial intelligence capability to uncover zero-day variants of ransomware that are able to get past traditional signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that utilizes next generation behavior machine learning tools to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape traditional signature-based AV tools. ProSight ASM safeguards local and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to address the complete threat lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services deliver affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and VMs, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to cyber threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device management, and web filtering through leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent managed from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can help you to plan and implement a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your organization's specific needs and that helps you prove compliance with legal and industry data security regulations. Progent will help you specify and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that require urgent attention. Progent can also assist your company to install and test a backup and restore solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint security and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services offer small and mid-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed service for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup activities and allows rapid restoration of vital files, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged as a result of component breakdowns, software bugs, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can help you to recover your critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering service that incorporates the technology of leading data security companies to provide web-based management and world-class protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard combines a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway device to offer advanced defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne threats. The cloud filter acts as a first line of defense and keeps most unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance adds a further level of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local security gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email that originates and ends inside your security perimeter. For more details, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, monitor, enhance and debug their networking appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, endpoints and other devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, captures and displays the configuration of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when problems are discovered. By automating complex network management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary tasks such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that require important software patches, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the state of critical assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your specified IT management staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that any looming issues can be addressed before they can impact productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS software, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hardware solution without a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into one hosting provider. Learn 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 makes it easy to capture, update, find and safeguard information related to your network infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSLs or domains. By updating and organizing your network documentation, you can eliminate as much as 50% of time thrown away searching for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your business network such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and relating IT data. Whether youíre planning improvements, doing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you require the instant you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For San Mateo 24-7 CryptoLocker Cleanup Services, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.