Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an assault. Different iterations of ransomware like the CrySIS, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for many years and still inflict harm. Modern variants of ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, along with frequent unnamed malware, not only do encryption of on-line data but also infiltrate all available system backups. Data synched to the cloud can also be ransomed. In a vulnerable system, this can make any restoration impossible and effectively knocks the datacenter back to zero.

Retrieving applications and information following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted business tries its best to contain and remove the ransomware and to resume mission-critical operations. Because crypto-ransomware requires time to spread, penetrations are often sprung during weekends and nights, when successful attacks tend to take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly mobilizing and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent makes available a range of help services for protecting businesses from crypto-ransomware attacks. Among these are staff training to help recognize and avoid phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security gateways with AI capabilities to automatically discover and suppress new cyber attacks. Progent in addition provides the services of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the talent and perseverance to rebuild a breached network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Services
After a ransomware event, sending the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber hackers will provide the needed keys to decrypt any of your files. Kaspersky Labs determined that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their files after having paid the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be around $13,000. The other path is to piece back together the critical elements of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of full information backups, this calls for a broad range of IT skills, well-coordinated project management, and the ability to work continuously until the job is complete.

For decades, Progent has made available certified expert Information Technology services for businesses in Rochester and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes consultants who have been awarded top certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security consultants have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise with financial management and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to efficiently determine necessary systems and integrate the remaining components of your computer network system after a ransomware penetration and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's ransomware group deploys state-of-the-art project management tools to orchestrate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent understands the importance of working quickly and together with a customerís management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to get essential systems back online as soon as possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Penetration Recovery
A small business contacted Progent after their company was crashed by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been developed by North Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using algorithms leaked from Americaís NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific organizations with limited tolerance for disruption and is one of the most lucrative examples of ransomware. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturer headquartered in Chicago with around 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had shut down all company operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data backups had been online at the time of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (in excess of $200K) and hoping for the best, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I canít say enough about the support Progent provided us during the most stressful time of (our) companyís life. We most likely would have paid the hackers behind this attack if not for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and key applications back online in less than a week was beyond my wildest dreams. Each expert I talked with or communicated with at Progent was amazingly focused on getting us operational and was working non-stop to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the customer to quickly identify and prioritize the critical areas that had to be restored to make it possible to resume departmental operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent adhered to ransomware penetration mitigation best practices by isolating and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then initiated the task of restoring Microsoft AD, the heart of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not operate without AD, and the customerís accounting and MRP software utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which depends on Windows AD for authentication to the databases.

In less than two days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory services to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery on the most important systems. All Exchange data and attributes were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to assemble intact OST data files (Outlook Offline Data Files) on user desktop computers and laptops to recover email data. A recent offline backup of the businesses financials/ERP systems made them able to recover these required applications back online for users. Although a lot of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, essential systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation never missed a beat and we delivered all customer deliverables."

Over the following couple of weeks important milestones in the recovery process were accomplished through tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Internal web applications were brought back up without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over four million archived messages was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory functions were completely recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was set up.
  • 90% of the desktop computers were operational.

"A lot of what went on during the initial response is mostly a blur for me, but my management will not forget the commitment each of your team accomplished to give us our business back. Iíve entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered. This event was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A possible company-ending catastrophe was averted due to dedicated professionals, a wide range of technical expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in retrospect the crypto-ransomware penetration detailed here should have been disabled with up-to-date cyber security solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff training, and properly executed security procedures for information backup and proper patching controls, the fact remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has a proven track record in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (and any others who were helping), thanks very much for making it so I could get rested after we got over the first week. All of you did an incredible effort, and if any of your guys is in the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers companies in Rochester a range of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize modern machine learning technology to detect new strains of ransomware that can escape detection by traditional signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes next generation behavior-based machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-matching AV tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including filtering, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer economical in-depth protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alarms, device management, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent managed from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help your business to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's unique requirements and that allows you prove compliance with legal and industry data security regulations. Progent will help you specify and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alerts that require urgent action. Progent can also assist you to set up and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-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 processes and enables rapid recovery of critical data, applications and VMs that have become lost or corrupted as a result of hardware failures, software bugs, disasters, human error, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can deliver advanced support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to to comply with regulatory standards such as HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when needed, can help you to restore your critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed 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 technology of leading information security vendors to provide centralized management and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local gateway appliance to provide advanced defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's cloud filter serves as a first line of defense and keeps most unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to external attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device adds a deeper level of analysis for incoming email. For outgoing email, the onsite gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The local gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and protect internal email that stays within your security perimeter. For more information, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller businesses to map out, monitor, enhance and debug their networking hardware like switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always updated, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when problems are detected. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores such as making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding appliances that require important software patches, or resolving performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network 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 advanced remote monitoring and management technology to keep your IT system running at peak levels by tracking the state of vital assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is transmitted immediately to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that any looming issues can be addressed before they have a chance to impact your network. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's network support experts. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hardware environment without requiring a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting provider. 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and protect data related to your network infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or IP addresses and be alerted automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and organizing your network documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time wasted looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for holding and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether youíre making improvements, doing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the information you need when you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Rochester 24/7/365 Crypto-Ransomware Repair Support Services, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.