Ransomware : Your Worst IT Disaster
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsCrypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that poses an extinction-level threat for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an attack. Different iterations of ransomware such as Reveton, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and still inflict harm. Modern strains of crypto-ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, plus more unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of online critical data but also infiltrate many accessible system protection. Data replicated to the cloud can also be corrupted. In a poorly architected data protection solution, it can render automated restoration hopeless and basically knocks the entire system back to zero.

Retrieving services and information after a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the victim struggles to contain the damage and clear the ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical operations. Since ransomware needs time to replicate, attacks are frequently sprung on weekends and holidays, when attacks in many cases take longer to identify. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly marshalling and orchestrating a capable mitigation team.

Progent makes available an assortment of help services for securing enterprises from ransomware attacks. These include staff training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus installation of next-generation security gateways with AI capabilities to automatically discover and disable zero-day threats. Progent in addition can provide the services of veteran ransomware recovery professionals with the track record and commitment to reconstruct a breached system as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
After a crypto-ransomware event, paying the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that distant criminals will provide the codes to decrypt all your files. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the essential elements of your IT environment. Absent the availability of essential information backups, this requires a broad range of skill sets, well-coordinated team management, and the willingness to work continuously until the recovery project is completed.

For two decades, Progent has made available professional IT services for companies in San Mateo and throughout the United States and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have been awarded top industry certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security specialists have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience in financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience gives Progent the ability to quickly understand critical systems and consolidate the remaining components of your IT environment following a ransomware attack and configure them into a functioning system.

Progent's ransomware team of experts deploys best of breed project management tools to coordinate the complex recovery process. Progent appreciates the importance of acting rapidly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to put essential services back on line as soon as humanly possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Attack Restoration
A customer contacted Progent after their organization was attacked by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been created by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting strategies leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific companies with little tolerance for disruption and is one of the most profitable iterations of ransomware malware. Major organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturing business headquartered in Chicago with about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had paralyzed all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data protection had been online at the beginning of the attack and were encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom (in excess of $200,000) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end called Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the help Progent gave us during the most critical period of (our) companyís existence. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs except for the confidence the Progent group provided us. The fact that you could get our messaging and key servers back into operation in less than seven days was earth shattering. Each expert I talked with or e-mailed at Progent was absolutely committed on getting us back online and was working 24 by 7 on our behalf."

Progent worked with the client to quickly understand and assign priority to the essential elements that needed to be restored in order to continue business functions:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To get going, Progent followed Anti-virus penetration mitigation industry best practices by halting the spread and performing virus removal steps. Progent then began the steps of recovering Microsoft AD, the key technology of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Exchange email will not function without Windows AD, and the customerís MRP software leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for security authorization to the databases.

In less than two days, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then helped perform reinstallations and storage recovery of the most important systems. All Exchange ties and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble intact OST data files (Outlook Email Off-Line Folder Files) on team PCs and laptops to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the client's accounting/MRP software made it possible to recover these required programs back available to users. Although a large amount of work needed to be completed to recover completely from the Ryuk damage, the most important systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation never missed a beat and we did not miss any customer sales."

Over the next month key milestones in the restoration project were accomplished in tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web sites were brought back up without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over four million historical emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were completely operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was set up and programmed.
  • Nearly all of the user desktops were functioning as before the incident.

"So much of what went on in the early hours is mostly a haze for me, but we will not soon forget the countless hours each and every one of you accomplished to give us our business back. Iíve been working together with Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered. This time was a life saver."

Conclusion
A potential company-ending catastrophe was evaded with top-tier professionals, a wide spectrum of subject matter expertise, and tight teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware penetration detailed here could have been disabled with current security systems and best practices, staff education, and appropriate incident response procedures for backup and applying software patches, the reality remains that state-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incursion, remember that Progent's team of professionals has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, remediation, and information systems disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), Iím grateful for letting me get some sleep after we got over the first week. All of you did an fabulous job, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in San Mateo a range of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize next-generation artificial intelligence capability to detect zero-day variants of crypto-ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes next generation behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver ultra-affordable in-depth security for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device management, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist you to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's unique requirements and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that call for immediate action. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and test a backup and restore solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly rate, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup activities and allows rapid recovery of vital data, apps and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software bugs, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as 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 backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver world-class expertise to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can assist you to restore your critical data. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the technology of top information security companies to provide web-based control and world-class security for your email traffic. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway appliance to offer advanced defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne malware. The Cloud Protection Layer acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to inbound threats and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway appliance adds a deeper layer of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, monitor, reconfigure and debug their networking hardware like switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are kept updated, captures and manages the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating devices that need critical software patches, or isolating performance bottlenecks. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the health of critical computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is sent immediately to your specified IT management staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so all potential problems can be resolved before they can impact productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • 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 fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer owns the data, the OS software, and the applications. Because the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hosting solution without a time-consuming and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into one hosting service. 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 create, maintain, find and protect information about your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned about impending expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and managing your network 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 (SOPs) and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and relating IT information. Whether youíre making improvements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you need when you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24-7 San Mateo Crypto-Ransomware Repair Consulting, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.