Ransomware : Your Feared IT Nightmare
Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that poses an extinction-level threat for organizations vulnerable to an attack. Different iterations of crypto-ransomware like the CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and continue to inflict havoc. More recent versions of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Nephilim, as well as additional as yet unnamed malware, not only do encryption of on-line data files but also infiltrate most accessible system backup. Files replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed system, it can make any restoration hopeless and effectively knocks the network back to square one.
Retrieving applications and data after a ransomware outage becomes a race against the clock as the victim tries its best to stop the spread and clear the ransomware and to restore business-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware needs time to spread, penetrations are usually launched on weekends, when successful attacks in many cases take more time to detect. This compounds the difficulty of quickly assembling and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.
Progent provides a range of support services for protecting enterprises from ransomware attacks. Among these are team member education to become familiar with and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of next-generation security gateways with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to identify and suppress zero-day cyber attacks rapidly. Progent also provides the assistance of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the track record and perseverance to reconstruct a breached network as rapidly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Following a crypto-ransomware attack, even paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will provide the keys to decrypt any or all of your files. 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 very costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the vital parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of full system backups, this requires a broad complement of skill sets, professional team management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the task is over.
For decades, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for businesses in Anchorage and across the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have earned top certifications in leading technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's security engineers have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise in financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the capability to knowledgably ascertain necessary systems and organize the remaining pieces of your computer network environment following a ransomware penetration and rebuild them into a functioning system.
Progent's security group has top notch project management systems to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent understands the importance of acting swiftly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to put essential systems back on line as fast as humanly possible.
Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Incident Response
A business sought out Progent after their network system was taken over by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been developed by North Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, suspected of using technology leaked from America's NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with little room for operational disruption and is among the most lucrative versions of ransomware. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturer headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 employees. The Ryuk event had frozen all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's data backups had been on-line at the beginning of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and hoping for the best, but ultimately made the decision to use Progent.
"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the support Progent gave us throughout the most critical period of (our) businesses existence. We may have had to pay the cyber criminals if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. That you could get our messaging and important servers back online sooner than one week was incredible. Each expert I spoke to or texted at Progent was hell bent on getting our system up and was working all day and night on our behalf."
Progent worked hand in hand the client to quickly identify and assign priority to the most important systems that had to be addressed in order to continue company operations:
To start, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes incident mitigation best practices by stopping the spread and disinfecting systems. Progent then began the steps of restoring Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange Server messaging will not operate without AD, and the client's financials and MRP system leveraged Microsoft SQL, which needs Windows AD for security authorization to the database.
- Active Directory (AD)
- Electronic Mail
- Accounting and Manufacturing Software
Within 2 days, Progent was able to re-build Windows Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then performed rebuilding and hard drive recovery of the most important systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server schema and attributes were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to find non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Data Files) on various PCs and laptops in order to recover mail information. A not too old offline backup of the customer's accounting software made them able to recover these required services back available to users. Although significant work was left to recover completely from the Ryuk attack, essential systems were recovered rapidly:
"For the most part, the assembly line operation was never shut down and we produced all customer sales."
Over the following few weeks critical milestones in the recovery project were achieved in tight collaboration between Progent team members and the client:
- In-house web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
- The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding four million archived emails was spun up and accessible to users.
- CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory functions were fully operational.
- A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed.
- Ninety percent of the desktop computers were fully operational.
"Much of what went on in the early hours is mostly a blur for me, but my management will not forget the commitment each and every one of your team accomplished to help get our business back. I've been working with Progent for the past ten years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered. This event was the most impressive ever."
A probable business-killing disaster was evaded with hard-working professionals, a wide array of technical expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus penetration detailed here could have been identified and blocked with advanced cyber security technology solutions and security best practices, user education, and appropriate incident response procedures for data backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the fact is that government-sponsored cybercriminals from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do get hit by a ransomware penetration, remember that Progent's roster of experts has proven experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and data restoration.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others who were involved), thanks very much for allowing me to get some sleep after we got over the first week. All of you did an fabulous job, and if any of your guys is in the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"
To read or download a PDF version of this ransomware incident report, click:
Progent's Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Anchorage a range of remote monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize modern machine learning technology to uncover new variants of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.
For Anchorage 24x7x365 Crypto Removal Services, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based machine learning tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely escape traditional signature-matching AV products. ProSight ASM protects local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including filtering, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer economical in-depth security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device management, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your organization's specific requirements and that helps you prove compliance with government and industry data security standards. Progent will help you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that call for immediate action. Progent can also assist your company to install and verify a backup and restore system like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover rapidly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has worked with advanced backup/restore technology companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a portfolio of management offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services automate and monitor your backup operations and allow transparent backup and rapid restoration of important files/folders, apps, images, plus virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you recover from data loss caused by hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, user error, ill-intentioned employees, or application bugs. Managed services in the ProSight DPS product family include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built storage, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to identify which of these fully managed services are best suited for your network.
- ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering service that incorporates the infrastructure of leading data security companies to deliver centralized management and comprehensive protection for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway appliance to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-based malware. Email Guard's cloud filter acts as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This decreases your vulnerability to external threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite security gateway device provides a deeper layer of analysis for inbound email. For outgoing email, the local gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email that stays within your security perimeter. For more information, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for smaller businesses to diagram, monitor, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances like routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology maps are always current, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are detected. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores like making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that require important software patches, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the state of vital assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alert is sent immediately to your designated IT management staff and your Progent engineering consultant so that all potential problems can be resolved before they can disrupt productivity. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hosting solution without requiring a lengthy and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting service. Find out more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.
- ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, update, retrieve and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By updating and organizing your IT documentation, you can save 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 holding and sharing all documents required for managing your business network like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether you're planning improvements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you require as soon as you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that utilizes next generation behavior machine learning tools to guard endpoints and servers and VMs against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. Progent ASM services protect on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to manage the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic network-wide immunization against new attacks. Read more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.
- Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Desk: Call Center Managed Services
Progent's Help Desk services enable your information technology group to offload Help Desk services to Progent or split activity for Help Desk services seamlessly between your in-house support team and Progent's extensive roster of certified IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Service Desk offers a smooth extension of your internal support resources. Client interaction with the Help Desk, delivery of support services, problem escalation, trouble ticket creation and updates, efficiency metrics, and maintenance of the support database are consistent regardless of whether issues are resolved by your internal IT support group, by Progent, or both. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.
- Progent's Patch Management: Patch Management Services
Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of all sizes a versatile and affordable solution for assessing, testing, scheduling, applying, and tracking software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving information network. In addition to maximizing the security and functionality of your computer network, Progent's software/firmware update management services allow your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic projects and tasks that derive maximum business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
Progent's Duo MFA services incorporate Cisco's Duo technology to protect against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables one-tap identity verification with iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. With Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a secured online account and enter your password you are requested to verify who you are on a device that only you have and that is accessed using a separate network channel. A wide selection of out-of-band devices can be used for this added form of authentication including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You may designate several verification devices. For more information about Duo two-factor identity validation services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.
- ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
ProSight Reporting is an expanding line of in-depth management reporting plug-ins designed to integrate with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring applications such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to surface and contextualize key issues like spotty support follow-up or machines with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health problems clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves productivity, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.