Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware has become an escalating cyberplague that presents an existential danger for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an assault. Different iterations of ransomware such as Reveton, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for years and still inflict havoc. Recent versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, plus daily as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt on-line data files but also infiltrate any configured system backup. Information synchronized to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a vulnerable environment, this can make any restoration impossible and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.
Recovering applications and data after a crypto-ransomware attack becomes a race against the clock as the targeted business struggles to stop lateral movement and remove the ransomware and to restore business-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware requires time to spread, assaults are usually sprung during weekends and nights, when successful attacks typically take longer to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and coordinating a qualified response team.
Progent makes available a range of solutions for protecting enterprises from ransomware attacks. These include team training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of modern security appliances with artificial intelligence technology to quickly detect and extinguish zero-day cyber attacks. Progent in addition offers the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery consultants with the talent and commitment to re-deploy a breached system as rapidly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Subsequent to a ransomware event, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will provide the codes to decipher any or all of your data. Kaspersky Labs estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their files even after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the key parts of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of essential data backups, this calls for a broad complement of skill sets, top notch team management, and the ability to work continuously until the recovery project is done.
For decades, Progent has made available expert Information Technology services for companies in Spartanburg and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes consultants who have been awarded advanced industry certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial management and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to quickly determine critical systems and organize the remaining components of your computer network system following a crypto-ransomware event and configure them into a functioning system.
Progent's ransomware team deploys powerful project management applications to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of acting rapidly and in unison with a customerís management and IT resources to prioritize tasks and to get key services back on-line as fast as possible.
Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Intrusion Response
A customer engaged Progent after their network was brought down by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been created by Northern Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting strategies leaked from Americaís National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific businesses with little or no tolerance for disruption and is among the most profitable instances of crypto-ransomware. Major organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturer headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk attack had disabled all company operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's backups had been on-line at the beginning of the attack and were encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and praying for good luck, but ultimately reached out to Progent.
"I cannot speak enough about the help Progent gave us during the most critical time of (our) companyís life. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs except for the confidence the Progent experts provided us. That you could get our e-mail and key applications back into operation faster than seven days was earth shattering. Each consultant I talked with or communicated with at Progent was absolutely committed on getting us back online and was working all day and night on our behalf."
Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly get our arms around and prioritize the critical systems that had to be recovered to make it possible to resume business operations:
To begin, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes incident response best practices by stopping lateral movement and performing virus removal steps. Progent then began the work of bringing back online Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server messaging will not function without Active Directory, and the customerís MRP software utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory services for security authorization to the data.
- Microsoft Active Directory
- Microsoft Exchange Server
Within two days, Progent was able to recover Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then completed reinstallations and storage recovery of needed servers. All Microsoft Exchange Server data and configuration information were intact, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect non-encrypted OST files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff PCs in order to recover mail messages. A not too old offline backup of the customerís manufacturing systems made them able to recover these vital applications back online. Although significant work needed to be completed to recover completely from the Ryuk event, the most important systems were returned to operations quickly:
"For the most part, the manufacturing operation survived unscathed and we produced all customer shipments."
Throughout the following couple of weeks key milestones in the restoration process were accomplished through tight cooperation between Progent engineers and the client:
- In-house web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
- The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than four million archived messages was brought on-line and available for users.
- CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/AP/AR/Inventory functions were 100% operational.
- A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was set up.
- Most of the desktops and laptops were fully operational.
"A lot of what happened in the initial days is nearly entirely a fog for me, but I will not forget the countless hours each of your team accomplished to help get our company back. I have entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This time was a life saver."
A possible enterprise-killing disaster was averted with hard-working professionals, a broad array of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware penetration described here should have been shut down with modern security solutions and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, team training, and well designed security procedures for information protection and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware incursion, remember that Progent's team of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus defense, remediation, and data recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thank you for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it over the initial push. Everyone did an incredible effort, and if any of your team 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 Ransomware Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in Spartanburg a variety of remote monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services incorporate next-generation AI technology to uncover zero-day strains of crypto-ransomware that can evade traditional signature-based anti-virus solutions.
For Spartanburg 24x7x365 Crypto Cleanup Help, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
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- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
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- ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
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