Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ProfessionalsRansomware has become a modern cyberplague that poses an enterprise-level danger for businesses unprepared for an assault. Different versions of ransomware such as Dharma, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for years and still cause destruction. Recent strains of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Nephilim, plus frequent unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line critical data but also infect all accessible system backups. Files synched to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a poorly architected data protection solution, it can render any restore operations impossible and effectively knocks the network back to square one.

Getting back online programs and data following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the victim struggles to stop lateral movement and clear the ransomware and to resume business-critical operations. Because crypto-ransomware takes time to replicate, penetrations are often launched on weekends and holidays, when successful penetrations are likely to take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of quickly assembling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent provides an assortment of help services for securing organizations from crypto-ransomware events. Among these are team member education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of next-generation security solutions with AI technology to quickly detect and disable day-zero cyber attacks. Progent also provides the services of expert ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and perseverance to restore a breached system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Soon after a ransomware attack, even paying the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will provide the needed keys to decipher all your information. Kaspersky estimated that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The alternative is to re-install the critical elements of your IT environment. Without access to complete information backups, this calls for a broad complement of IT skills, well-coordinated project management, and the ability to work continuously until the task is done.

For two decades, Progent has provided certified expert Information Technology services for businesses in Portland and throughout the US and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have earned high-level industry certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to knowledgably determine important systems and integrate the surviving pieces of your IT environment after a ransomware attack and assemble them into a functioning network.

Progent's security team of experts has best of breed project management tools to coordinate the complicated restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of acting rapidly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology resources to prioritize tasks and to put essential applications back on-line as fast as humanly possible.

Client Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Attack Recovery
A client sought out Progent after their network was crashed by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been developed by North Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, possibly adopting approaches leaked from Americaís National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific companies with limited tolerance for operational disruption and is among the most lucrative incarnations of ransomware viruses. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturer located in Chicago with around 500 workers. The Ryuk intrusion had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's system backups had been directly accessible at the start 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 the best, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I cannot say enough about the support Progent gave us during the most fearful period of (our) companyís life. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals behind the attack if not for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. The fact that you could get our e-mail system and production applications back on-line faster than a week was amazing. Each consultant I interacted with or communicated with at Progent was totally committed on getting us operational and was working 24 by 7 on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly identify and prioritize the essential systems that had to be addressed to make it possible to resume business operations:

  • Active Directory
  • Electronic Messaging
  • MRP System
To start, Progent followed Anti-virus event response best practices by isolating and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then started the process of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not function without AD, and the customerís financials and MRP applications leveraged Microsoft SQL, which depends on Windows AD for authentication to the databases.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then performed reinstallations and storage recovery of critical systems. All Exchange ties and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to collect intact OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Data Files) on various PCs to recover mail information. A not too old offline backup of the client's accounting/MRP software made it possible to restore these vital services back on-line. Although a large amount of work needed to be completed to recover totally from the Ryuk attack, core systems were recovered quickly:


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

During the following couple of weeks important milestones in the restoration process were made through tight cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web applications were restored without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over four million historical emails was brought online and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was set up and programmed.
  • 90% of the user desktops were operational.

"So much of what occurred in the early hours is mostly a fog for me, but I will not forget the urgency all of the team accomplished to help get our company back. I have trusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This event was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A possible business-killing catastrophe was averted due to dedicated experts, a broad spectrum of technical expertise, and close collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware attack detailed here could have been identified and blocked with current security technology and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff education, and properly executed incident response procedures for information protection and proper patching controls, the fact remains that state-sponsored hackers from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are not going away. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of experts has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and information systems restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Chris (along with others that were contributing), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it past the first week. Everyone did an impressive effort, and if anyone that helped is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Portland a range of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize modern AI technology to detect zero-day strains of crypto-ransomware that are able to evade traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • 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 analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape legacy signature-based AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to address the entire threat progression including protection, detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer affordable in-depth security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint control, and web filtering via leading-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help you to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's specific requirements and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry information security regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that require immediate action. Progent can also assist your company to install and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover rapidly from a destructive cyber attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and medium-sized businesses an affordable end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a fixed monthly rate, ProSight DPS automates your backup processes and enables fast restoration of critical data, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged as a result of component breakdowns, software bugs, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can deliver advanced expertise to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when needed, can assist you to restore your business-critical information. Find out 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 service that incorporates the technology of top data security vendors to deliver web-based control and world-class protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway device to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks most unwanted email from making it to your network firewall. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite security gateway appliance provides a further layer of inspection for incoming email. For outbound email, the local gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The local gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays within your security perimeter. For more information, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, track, enhance and troubleshoot their networking hardware such as routers and switches, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, endpoints and other devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network diagrams are kept updated, copies and displays the configuration of almost all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when problems are detected. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding appliances that require critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring managed service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your IT system running efficiently by tracking the state of critical assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alert is transmitted immediately to your specified IT personnel and your Progent engineering consultant so that all potential problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's network support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware solution without a time-consuming and difficult configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single 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 create, maintain, retrieve and protect data about your network infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about impending expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time spent looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your business network like recommended procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for gathering and associating IT information. Whether youíre making enhancements, performing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need the instant you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Portland 24-7 Crypto Recovery Support Services, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.