Orange County, CA – We have seen a surge in ransomware attacks in the past week. While only two Alvaka clients have gotten hit, they are a tale of different system administration acumen.
1. A Los Angeles based firm got hit with the latest breed of ransomware on Friday. Where an otherwise non-event for the most part went wrong was that a key user had elevated administrative rights to manage their IT infrastructure. Instead of using a regular user account, with very limited user rights for day-to-day activities, this more powerful account, when struck by the ransomware, infected all the important file shares of the firm. Fortunately they had good backups, but because of cumbersome folder naming conventions and structures it took the guys in our Alvaka Networks’ Network Operations Center about 28 hours straight to get all the user permissions back in order for the client to get back to work. The lack of “least-permissions” as used by this client goes in direct opposition to what we recommend at Alvaka. Least-permissions is the practice of using accounts that grant the user access to only the locations on the network for which they have a business need to access.
2. In another example, a $200m manufacturer/distributor got hit by the same ransomware. The user; a Jr. Executive, saw some unusual activity with his system but failed to report it before he left at midday. The problem was spotted and our Network Operations Center took action. This time the outcome was very different than the prior scenario. Why? Because the user only had access to documents and folders to support his job. Once identified, the problem was resolved by Alvaka staff within 45 minutes with very little impact and virtually no adverse effect on the overall organization.
So far only two clients of Alvaka have been ransomed, neither needed to pay anything. I am on a couple e-mail message lists for IT service provider discussions. Ransomware is a wide-spread problem right now. Two is too many so at Alvaka we are writing a probe to detect this problem early in the process. This ransomware has four unique traits that announce to those watching that it has arrived. We are in the process of tracking those four digital beacons. When detected we will shut down the server so that we can stop the ransomware in its tracks, mitigate the damage and begin the recovery process. We are also implementing new URL reputation checking technology to thwart the impact of ransomware should it get into your systems. I strongly recommend you have us implement this for you. If you want these two new protection solutions, be sure to contact me or your primary contact at Alvaka Networks. I can be reached at 949 428-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who are interested message and look of the ransomware message, here it is:
Here is a well-publicized article on a hospital that was hit badly and the ransom amount demanded is $3.6M!
If you need help or you are concerned about protecting yourself from this scourge, call us ASAP at 949 428-5000 or write to me at email@example.com and we can help you fortify your defenses.
You can click here for a .PDF version of this document to share with your user community – https://www.alvaka.net/ransomware-tips