Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared IT Catastrophe
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an extinction-level danger for businesses unprepared for an attack. Multiple generations of ransomware such as Reveton, Fusob, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for a long time and still inflict destruction. Modern versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, plus daily as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online files but also infiltrate most accessible system backups. Information synchronized to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a vulnerable environment, this can render automated recovery hopeless and basically knocks the entire system back to square one.

Getting back on-line services and information following a ransomware attack becomes a race against the clock as the victim tries its best to stop the spread and clear the ransomware and to resume mission-critical activity. Since crypto-ransomware requires time to replicate, penetrations are frequently sprung at night, when penetrations tend to take more time to detect. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly assembling and coordinating an experienced response team.

Progent offers a range of help services for protecting organizations from ransomware attacks. These include staff training to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus setup and configuration of the latest generation security solutions with machine learning capabilities to quickly detect and quarantine day-zero cyber attacks. Progent also offers the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery professionals with the skills and commitment to re-deploy a breached system as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
After a crypto-ransomware attack, paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber hackers will respond with the keys to decipher any or all of your files. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their files even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The other path is to setup from scratch the critical elements of your IT environment. Without access to essential data backups, this requires a broad range of skills, professional team management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the job is over.

For two decades, Progent has made available certified expert Information Technology services for companies in Petaluma and throughout the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have earned top certifications in leading technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security experts have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of experience affords Progent the capability to knowledgably ascertain necessary systems and integrate the remaining components of your IT environment after a crypto-ransomware penetration and assemble them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts utilizes top notch project management tools to coordinate the complicated restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of acting rapidly and together with a client's management and Information Technology resources to prioritize tasks and to get key services back on-line as fast as humanly possible.

Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Penetration Recovery
A customer hired Progent after their network system was crashed by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been launched by Northern Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting technology leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk seeks specific companies with little room for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative incarnations of ransomware. Major targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a regional manufacturing company based in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk attack had frozen all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's information backups had been directly accessible at the beginning of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom (exceeding $200K) and praying for the best, but ultimately brought in Progent.


"I canít thank you enough in regards to the expertise Progent provided us throughout the most critical time of (our) companyís existence. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our e-mail system and critical servers back on-line quicker than five days was something I thought impossible. Each consultant I talked with or texted at Progent was laser focused on getting us restored and was working day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly determine and assign priority to the mission critical elements that had to be recovered to make it possible to continue departmental operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • MRP System
To begin, Progent followed ransomware event mitigation industry best practices by isolating and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then began the task of rebuilding Windows Active Directory, the core of enterprise networks built on Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not function without Active Directory, and the businessesí MRP software utilized Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory services for authentication to the database.

In less than two days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery of the most important applications. All Exchange Server ties and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to find local OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on various desktop computers and laptops to recover email information. A recent off-line backup of the client's financials/MRP software made it possible to return these essential programs back available to users. Although major work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, critical systems were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation showed little impact and we did not miss any customer shipments."

During the next few weeks key milestones in the restoration project were accomplished through tight collaboration between Progent team members and the client:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than four million historical emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control capabilities were completely operational.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was installed.
  • 90% of the user workstations were being used by staff.

"A lot of what went on in the early hours is mostly a haze for me, but I will not forget the countless hours all of your team put in to give us our company back. Iíve entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This time was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A probable enterprise-killing disaster was averted through the efforts of top-tier professionals, a wide spectrum of subject matter expertise, and close teamwork. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus incident described here should have been stopped with up-to-date security technology and best practices, team training, and appropriate incident response procedures for information backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that state-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has extensive experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and data restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were contributing), Iím grateful for letting me get rested after we got past the initial fire. Everyone did an amazing effort, and if any of your guys is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Petaluma a variety of remote monitoring and security assessment services to help you to reduce your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI capability to detect zero-day strains of ransomware that are able to evade legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates cutting edge behavior-based machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire threat progression including filtering, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new 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) managed services offer affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced heuristics for continuously monitoring and responding to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent accessible from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can help you to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your organization's unique needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security standards. Progent will assist you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alerts that call for immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to set up and verify a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Find out 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 Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery. Available at a low monthly price, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and allows fast restoration of vital files, applications and VMs that have become lost or corrupted as a result of hardware breakdowns, software bugs, disasters, human error, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can deliver world-class expertise to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when needed, can assist you to recover your critical data. Learn more about ProSight Data Protection Services 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 uses the infrastructure of leading data security companies to deliver centralized control and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with a local gateway appliance to provide advanced defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne malware. The cloud filter acts as a first line of defense and keeps most threats from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to external threats and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway device adds a deeper layer of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises security gateway can also help Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email that stays within your corporate firewall. For more information, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for smaller businesses to map out, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, client computers and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always updated, copies and displays the configuration information of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are discovered. By automating time-consuming management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary tasks like network mapping, expanding your network, finding appliances that require important updates, or resolving performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to help keep your network operating efficiently by tracking the state of critical assets that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is sent automatically to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so any looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Find out more 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 apps hosted in a secure fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host set up and managed by Progent's network support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the OS software, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to a different hardware solution without requiring a lengthy and difficult reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting service. Learn more 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 capture, update, retrieve and protect data about your network infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about impending expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate as much as 50% of time spent looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common location for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as recommended procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether youíre making improvements, doing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you need as soon as you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24-7 Petaluma Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.