Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared IT Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyberplague that presents an enterprise-level danger for organizations vulnerable to an assault. Different versions of ransomware like the CrySIS, WannaCry, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for years and continue to inflict destruction. More recent versions of ransomware like Ryuk and Hermes, along with daily as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt on-line data but also infect any configured system backups. Files synched to the cloud can also be ransomed. In a poorly architected system, it can make automated restore operations hopeless and basically knocks the datacenter back to square one.
Retrieving services and information following a ransomware attack becomes a race against the clock as the targeted organization fights to contain the damage and remove the ransomware and to restore mission-critical operations. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware requires time to replicate, assaults are usually launched during nights and weekends, when successful penetrations may take more time to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly mobilizing and organizing an experienced mitigation team.
Progent provides an assortment of services for securing businesses from ransomware attacks. Among these are team education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to setup and configuration of modern security appliances with machine learning capabilities to automatically identify and suppress day-zero threats. Progent also offers the assistance of seasoned ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a compromised system as urgently as possible.
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Subsequent to a ransomware event, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will return the needed codes to decrypt any of your files. Kaspersky determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the key elements of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete data backups, this requires a broad range of skill sets, professional team management, and the ability to work non-stop until the job is over.
For two decades, Progent has made available expert Information Technology services for companies in San Jose and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have been awarded advanced certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity consultants have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of experience provides Progent the capability to knowledgably understand important systems and re-organize the remaining pieces of your Information Technology environment after a ransomware event and rebuild them into a functioning system.
Progent's recovery team utilizes best of breed project management tools to orchestrate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent appreciates the importance of working swiftly and together with a client's management and IT resources to prioritize tasks and to get key services back on-line as soon as humanly possible.
Client Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Response
A customer engaged Progent after their network was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been deployed by North Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting techniques leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little or no tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most profitable iterations of ransomware. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing company headquartered in the Chicago metro area with about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had brought down all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's data backups had been directly accessible at the time of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (more than $200K) and praying for the best, but ultimately utilized Progent.
"I cannot speak enough in regards to the support Progent gave us during the most critical time of (our) businesses survival. We would have paid the criminal gangs if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. That you were able to get our e-mail system and critical applications back faster than 1 week was incredible. Each consultant I worked with or messaged at Progent was amazingly focused on getting our system up and was working all day and night on our behalf."
Progent worked with the client to quickly assess and assign priority to the key applications that had to be restored to make it possible to resume departmental functions:
To begin, Progent adhered to ransomware incident mitigation best practices by stopping lateral movement and performing virus removal steps. Progent then started the process of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not work without Windows AD, and the client's MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL, which requires Active Directory for access to the databases.
- Windows Active Directory
- Electronic Messaging
Within 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery on key servers. All Exchange Server data and attributes were intact, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to find non-encrypted OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff desktop computers and laptops in order to recover email messages. A recent off-line backup of the businesses manufacturing software made it possible to restore these essential programs back online. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover completely from the Ryuk event, the most important systems were restored rapidly:
"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation showed little impact and we produced all customer shipments."
Over the following month important milestones in the restoration process were made through close cooperation between Progent consultants and the customer:
- Self-hosted web applications were brought back up without losing any data.
- The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than four million historical emails was brought on-line and accessible to users.
- CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory modules were fully functional.
- A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was brought on-line.
- Ninety percent of the desktops and laptops were back into operation.
"So much of what occurred in the initial days is mostly a fog for me, but our team will not soon forget the dedication all of you accomplished to help get our business back. I have been working together with Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered as promised. This event was a life saver."
A probable business extinction catastrophe was averted by top-tier professionals, a wide array of subject matter expertise, and tight collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware penetration detailed here could have been disabled with advanced cyber security technology and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and appropriate security procedures for backup and applying software patches, the reality remains that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, removal, and file restoration.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (along with others who were involved), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it through the most critical parts. Everyone did an amazing effort, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"
To read 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 Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in San Jose a range of remote monitoring and security assessment services to help you to minimize the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate modern artificial intelligence capability to uncover new strains of crypto-ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based security products.
For 24x7x365 San Jose Crypto Recovery Consulting, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
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