Ransomware : Your Worst IT Nightmare
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ProfessionalsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an enterprise-level threat for businesses vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware like the CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for years and continue to cause harm. More recent strains of crypto-ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, LockBit or Nephilim, plus more unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online data but also infect all configured system backups. Data replicated to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable system, this can make any restoration useless and effectively sets the entire system back to square one.

Restoring services and data following a ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against time as the victim struggles to contain and clear the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical activity. Since ransomware needs time to replicate, penetrations are frequently sprung on weekends and holidays, when successful penetrations tend to take longer to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and organizing a capable mitigation team.

Progent offers an assortment of support services for securing organizations from crypto-ransomware attacks. Among these are team education to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to setup and configuration of next-generation security appliances with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to detect and extinguish day-zero cyber threats automatically. Progent also provides the assistance of seasoned ransomware recovery engineers with the track record and perseverance to reconstruct a compromised system as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Support Services
Following a ransomware event, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not ensure that merciless criminals will respond with the needed keys to decrypt any or all of your data. Kaspersky Labs estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The other path is to re-install the critical elements of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete data backups, this requires a wide complement of IT skills, professional team management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the recovery project is complete.

For decades, Progent has provided expert Information Technology services for companies in Adelaide and throughout the United States and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes engineers who have earned top industry certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security experts have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to rapidly determine critical systems and re-organize the surviving parts of your network system after a ransomware attack and configure them into an operational network.

Progent's security group utilizes top notch project management systems to orchestrate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent knows the importance of acting swiftly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology resources to assign priority to tasks and to put key applications back online as soon as humanly possible.

Client Story: A Successful Ransomware Incident Recovery
A client engaged Progent after their company was crashed by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been developed by North Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting techniques exposed from America's National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with little ability to sustain operational disruption and is among the most profitable examples of ransomware malware. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturing business headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk penetration had disabled all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's system backups had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom (more than $200K) and praying for the best, but in the end reached out to Progent.


"I can't speak enough in regards to the help Progent gave us throughout the most fearful period of (our) company's survival. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs except for the confidence the Progent team gave us. That you were able to get our messaging and essential applications back sooner than a week was incredible. Each person I got help from or texted at Progent was totally committed on getting us back on-line and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked with the client to rapidly determine and assign priority to the most important systems that needed to be addressed to make it possible to resume departmental operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To get going, Progent adhered to Anti-virus penetration mitigation best practices by isolating and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then began the task of recovering Microsoft AD, the key technology of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Active Directory, and the customer's financials and MRP software leveraged Microsoft SQL, which needs Active Directory services for authentication to the database.

Within two days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then helped perform rebuilding and storage recovery on essential servers. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and configuration information were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to find non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff desktop computers to recover mail data. A recent offline backup of the customer's manufacturing software made them able to recover these required programs back servicing users. Although a large amount of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, essential systems were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation showed little impact and we made all customer orders."

During the following few weeks key milestones in the restoration process were accomplished through close cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over 4 million historical emails was brought online and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory modules were completely restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed.
  • Ninety percent of the user workstations were operational.

"A lot of what went on in the early hours is mostly a fog for me, but we will not forget the care all of the team accomplished to give us our company back. I have been working with Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered. This time was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A likely business-killing catastrophe was dodged by top-tier professionals, a wide spectrum of technical expertise, and tight teamwork. Although in post mortem the ransomware penetration detailed here would have been prevented with modern security technology and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff training, and properly executed incident response procedures for backup and proper patching controls, the reality remains that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do get hit by a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of professionals has a proven track record in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and file restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others who were involved), I'm grateful for making it so I could get rested after we made it over the first week. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if any of your guys is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Adelaide a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to help you to reduce your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate next-generation artificial intelligence technology to detect new strains of ransomware that are able to evade 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 SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to address the complete threat lifecycle including blocking, infiltration detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Key features include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver economical multi-layer security for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, penetration alarms, device control, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent managed from a unified control. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can help you to plan and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that helps you prove compliance with government and industry data protection standards. Progent will help you specify and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that require immediate action. Progent's consultants can also assist you to set up and verify a backup and restore solution like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business rapidly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup technology providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a portfolio of subscription-based management outsourcing plans that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and track your data backup operations and enable non-disruptive backup and rapid recovery of important files, apps, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS helps your business avoid data loss caused by hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned employees, or software glitches. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product family include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent consultant can assist you to identify which of these fully managed services are most appropriate for your IT environment.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering and email encryption service that uses the technology of leading information security vendors to deliver centralized control and comprehensive protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with a local gateway device to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-based malware. The cloud filter serves as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance adds a deeper layer of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway offers AV and anti-spam protection, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller businesses to diagram, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances like routers, firewalls, and access points plus servers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always current, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when issues are discovered. By automating tedious network management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks such as making network diagrams, expanding your network, locating devices that require important software patches, or resolving performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your network running efficiently by tracking the state of critical computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is transmitted immediately to your designated IT staff and your Progent consultant so all looming problems can be resolved before they can impact your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hardware environment without a lengthy and difficult reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one 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 a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, find and protect information related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By cleaning up and managing your network documentation, you can eliminate as much as 50% of time thrown away searching for vital information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized repository for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your business network like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether you're planning enhancements, doing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you require when you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates next generation behavior-based analysis tools to defend endpoint devices as well as physical and virtual servers against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by traditional signature-matching AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to automate the entire malware attack progression including protection, detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Desk managed services allow your IT staff to offload Call Center services to Progent or divide responsibilities for support services seamlessly between your in-house network support resources and Progent's extensive roster of IT support engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk offers a seamless supplement to your internal network support staff. Client interaction with the Service Desk, provision of technical assistance, issue escalation, ticket generation and updates, performance measurement, and management of the support database are consistent regardless of whether incidents are taken care of by your corporate network support organization, by Progent's team, or both. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Service Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management provide organizations of any size a flexible and affordable alternative for assessing, testing, scheduling, implementing, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic information system. Besides maximizing the protection and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's patch management services allow your in-house IT team to focus on more strategic projects and activities that deliver maximum business value from your network. Find out more about Progent's patch management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA services utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables single-tap identity confirmation on Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. With Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a secured application and give your password you are asked to confirm your identity via a device that only you have and that uses a separate network channel. A broad range of devices can be utilized as this added form of ID validation such as an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You can register several verification devices. For details about ProSight Duo two-factor identity authentication services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
    ProSight Reporting is an expanding suite of in-depth reporting utilities designed to integrate with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring platforms such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues like spotty support follow-up or endpoints with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances productivity, reduces management overhead, and saves money. For more information, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For 24/7/365 Adelaide Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Experts, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.