Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become an escalating cyberplague that poses an enterprise-level danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an assault. Versions of crypto-ransomware like the CrySIS, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for many years and continue to cause havoc. The latest strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, LockBit or Nephilim, plus more unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online data files but also infect most accessible system protection. Data replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be corrupted. In a poorly designed system, it can render automatic recovery impossible and effectively sets the network back to square one.

Getting back on-line programs and information after a crypto-ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization struggles to contain and remove the virus and to resume mission-critical operations. Because ransomware needs time to move laterally, penetrations are usually launched on weekends and holidays, when penetrations tend to take longer to detect. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and organizing a qualified response team.

Progent provides a range of solutions for protecting enterprises from crypto-ransomware penetrations. Among these are staff education to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus installation of the latest generation security gateways with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to detect and suppress day-zero cyber attacks automatically. Progent also offers the services of experienced ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and perseverance to restore a breached network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Services
Subsequent to a ransomware event, paying the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that merciless criminals will provide the needed keys to decipher any of your files. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be approximately $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the critical components of your IT environment. Absent the availability of essential information backups, this requires a broad complement of skills, well-coordinated team management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the job is completed.

For decades, Progent has provided certified expert IT services for businesses in Akron and throughout the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have been awarded top industry certifications in key technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have earned internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISA, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of experience affords Progent the capability to knowledgably understand critical systems and organize the remaining components of your IT environment following a ransomware attack and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery team has top notch project management applications to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent appreciates the urgency of acting quickly and in unison with a customer�s management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to get essential applications back on-line as fast as humanly possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Attack Restoration
A small business sought out Progent after their network was brought down by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been deployed by North Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using technology leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific organizations with little or no ability to sustain disruption and is one of the most profitable instances of crypto-ransomware. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a regional manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area with about 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had frozen all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's information backups had been directly accessible at the time of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (more than two hundred thousand dollars) and hoping for good luck, but ultimately engaged Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough about the care Progent provided us throughout the most stressful period of (our) company�s life. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack except for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our messaging and production servers back sooner than a week was beyond my wildest dreams. Each consultant I talked with or messaged at Progent was absolutely committed on getting our company operational and was working day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly get our arms around and prioritize the critical systems that needed to be restored in order to resume company operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Financials/MRP
To get going, Progent followed Anti-virus event mitigation industry best practices by stopping the spread and disinfecting systems. Progent then began the task of recovering Windows Active Directory, the core of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Active Directory, and the client's MRP applications utilized SQL Server, which needs Windows AD for security authorization to the data.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-virus state. Progent then completed setup and hard drive recovery on the most important servers. All Exchange Server schema and attributes were usable, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble intact OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff workstations and laptops to recover mail data. A not too old offline backup of the client's financials/MRP systems made them able to return these essential applications back online. Although a large amount of work still had to be done to recover fully from the Ryuk event, essential systems were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation survived unscathed and we did not miss any customer sales."

Throughout the next few weeks critical milestones in the recovery project were accomplished through tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • In-house web sites were brought back up without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding four million archived emails was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory functions were completely recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was set up.
  • Nearly all of the desktops and laptops were functioning as before the incident.

"A lot of what was accomplished those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but we will not forget the urgency each of your team put in to help get our company back. I�ve entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This time was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A potential company-ending catastrophe was dodged with hard-working professionals, a wide range of IT skills, and close teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware penetration described here could have been disabled with up-to-date cyber security technology and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user and IT administrator training, and properly executed incident response procedures for information backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the fact is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has extensive experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and information systems restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others who were helping), I�m grateful for letting me get rested after we made it past the initial push. Everyone did an impressive job, and if any of your team is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, click:
Progent's Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in Akron a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services utilize modern machine learning capability to uncover new variants of ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-based AV products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to automate the complete threat progression including blocking, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver ultra-affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint management, and web filtering via leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's specific needs and that helps you demonstrate compliance with government and industry information security regulations. Progent will help you specify and implement policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that require immediate action. Progent can also assist you to install and verify a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a destructive cyber attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup/restore software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of management outsourcing plans that provide backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services automate and track your backup operations and enable non-disruptive backup and rapid restoration of important files/folders, apps, images, plus virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps you protect against data loss caused by hardware failures, natural disasters, fire, malware such as ransomware, user error, malicious insiders, or software bugs. Managed services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight DPS Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Backup, ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can help you to identify which of these fully managed services are best suited for your IT environment.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering service that uses the infrastructure of leading information security companies to provide centralized management and comprehensive protection for your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway device to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to inbound attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway device provides a further layer of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The local gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller organizations to map out, monitor, enhance and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances like routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, printers, client computers and other devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always current, captures and manages the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are discovered. By automating complex management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off common chores such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating appliances that require important updates, or isolating performance issues. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progents server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to help keep your IT system running efficiently by checking the health of vital assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your specified IT management personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that all potential issues can be addressed before they can disrupt productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its key servers and apps hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's network support professionals. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer owns the data, the OS software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware solution without requiring a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into one hosting provider. Learn more 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 allows you to capture, update, find and safeguard information about your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned about impending expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your network documentation, you can save up to half of time thrown away searching for vital information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for storing and collaborating on all documents required for managing your business network like 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 youre making enhancements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you need as soon as you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior machine learning tools to guard endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to manage the complete malware attack progression including protection, detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Call Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Support Desk managed services allow your information technology team to outsource Call Center services to Progent or divide activity for Help Desk services transparently between your internal network support group and Progent's nationwide pool of IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Co-managed Service Desk provides a seamless extension of your core IT support organization. User interaction with the Service Desk, provision of technical assistance, issue escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, performance measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive regardless of whether issues are taken care of by your in-house IT support staff, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/shared Call Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management offer businesses of any size a versatile and cost-effective alternative for assessing, testing, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your dynamic information system. Besides maximizing the security and reliability of your computer environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services permit your IT team to focus on more strategic projects and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your network. Read more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables one-tap identity confirmation on Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a secured online account and give your password you are asked to confirm your identity on a unit that only you possess and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A broad range of devices can be utilized as this added form of ID validation including an iPhone or Android or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You can register multiple verification devices. To learn more about Duo identity validation services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.
For Akron 24-7 Crypto-Ransomware Cleanup Help, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.