Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an extinction-level danger for organizations poorly prepared for an attack. Versions of ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and still cause havoc. Recent strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Egregor, along with frequent as yet unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online files but also infiltrate all configured system protection. Information replicated to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a poorly architected environment, it can render automatic recovery hopeless and basically sets the datacenter back to square one.
Recovering applications and information following a crypto-ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the victim struggles to contain the damage and eradicate the crypto-ransomware and to resume mission-critical operations. Since crypto-ransomware needs time to replicate, penetrations are frequently sprung during weekends and nights, when attacks may take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and orchestrating an experienced response team.
Progent offers a variety of support services for protecting enterprises from ransomware penetrations. Among these are team member education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of modern security solutions with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to discover and suppress zero-day threats intelligently. Progent also offers the services of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a compromised system as rapidly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Soon after a crypto-ransomware attack, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not guarantee that distant criminals will respond with the needed codes to decrypt any of your files. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their files after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the key parts of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of complete system backups, this requires a broad range of IT skills, professional team management, and the willingness to work continuously until the job is completed.
For two decades, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for companies in Arlington and across the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have earned high-level certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's security experts have earned internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with accounting and ERP application software. This breadth of experience gives Progent the capability to knowledgably determine necessary systems and re-organize the surviving pieces of your network system after a crypto-ransomware event and assemble them into an operational system.
Progent's security group utilizes top notch project management applications to coordinate the complicated restoration process. Progent understands the urgency of working rapidly and in unison with a client's management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to get key services back on line as fast as humanly possible.
Client Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Restoration
A business hired Progent after their company was crashed by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by North Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of using technology exposed from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific companies with little or no room for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative instances of ransomware. High publicized victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had paralyzed all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data backups had been online at the start of the intrusion and were destroyed. The client considered paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200,000) and hoping for good luck, but ultimately utilized Progent.
"I cannot tell you enough about the help Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) businesses existence. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals behind the attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. The fact that you could get our e-mail system and essential servers back quicker than 1 week was something I thought impossible. Each person I worked with or messaged at Progent was urgently focused on getting our system up and was working at all hours to bail us out."
Progent worked together with the customer to quickly get our arms around and prioritize the critical applications that needed to be restored to make it possible to restart departmental functions:
To get going, Progent followed Anti-virus event response industry best practices by halting the spread and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then started the steps of rebuilding Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise networks built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not function without Windows AD, and the client's financials and MRP applications used SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for authentication to the database.
- Active Directory (AD)
- Electronic Messaging
- MRP System
Within 48 hours, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then helped perform reinstallations and storage recovery of critical systems. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to locate non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user PCs in order to recover mail data. A not too old offline backup of the customer's accounting/ERP systems made it possible to recover these vital programs back online. Although significant work was left to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, critical services were returned to operations quickly:
"For the most part, the manufacturing operation never missed a beat and we made all customer shipments."
Throughout the following couple of weeks key milestones in the recovery process were achieved through close collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:
- Self-hosted web sites were returned to operation without losing any data.
- The MailStore Server containing more than 4 million historical emails was brought on-line and available for users.
- CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory functions were completely functional.
- A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was deployed.
- Most of the desktop computers were operational.
"Much of what happened those first few days is nearly entirely a fog for me, but we will not soon forget the dedication each of the team accomplished to help get our company back. I've been working with Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time Progent has impressed me and delivered. This event was no exception but maybe more Herculean."
A potential business disaster was avoided due to dedicated experts, a broad spectrum of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware virus attack described here would have been shut down with current cyber security technology and security best practices, user and IT administrator training, and well designed incident response procedures for data backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus defense, removal, and information systems recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), I'm grateful for making it so I could get rested after we made it past the first week. Everyone did an amazing job, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"
To read or download a PDF version of this ransomware incident report, please click:
Progent's Ryuk Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in Arlington a range of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI capability to uncover new strains of ransomware that can get past traditional signature-based anti-virus solutions.
For Arlington 24x7x365 Ransomware Cleanup Services, contact 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 cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by legacy signature-matching AV products. ProSight ASM safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to address the complete malware attack progression including filtering, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Exchange Filtering
ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer economical multi-layer security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alerts, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent managed from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can help your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your organization's specific requirements and that allows you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security standards. Progent will assist you specify and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alarms that call for immediate action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to install and verify a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has partnered with advanced backup software companies to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services manage and track your backup operations and enable transparent backup and rapid recovery of critical files/folders, applications, system images, plus VMs. ProSight DPS lets your business avoid data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural disasters, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, human mistakes, malicious insiders, or application glitches. Managed services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line 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 assist you to determine which of these managed services are most appropriate for your network.
- 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 infrastructure of leading data security companies to deliver web-based management and comprehensive security for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway appliance to offer advanced defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. The cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of threats from making it to your network firewall. This decreases your exposure to inbound attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite security gateway device adds a further level of analysis for incoming email. For outgoing email, the onsite gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more information, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map, monitor, optimize and debug their networking hardware like routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, endpoints and other devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are kept updated, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming network management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores like network mapping, expanding your network, locating appliances that require important software patches, or isolating performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management technology to keep your network running efficiently by tracking the health of vital assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alarm is sent immediately to your specified IT management staff and your Progent engineering consultant so all looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to a different hosting solution without requiring a lengthy and difficult reinstallation process. 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
ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, find and safeguard information about your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate as much as 50% of time spent looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for holding and sharing all documents related to managing your business network like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you need as soon as you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior-based analysis technology to guard endpoint devices and physical and virtual servers against new malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape legacy signature-matching anti-virus products. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to manage the complete malware attack progression including filtering, identification, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.
- Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
Progent's Support Center services permit your IT staff to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your in-house network support team and Progent's extensive roster of IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service offers a seamless supplement to your internal IT support team. User interaction with the Help Desk, provision of technical assistance, escalation, ticket creation and tracking, performance measurement, and management of the support database are cohesive whether issues are taken care of by your corporate 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 provide businesses of any size a flexible and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and documenting software and firmware updates to your dynamic information system. In addition to optimizing the protection and functionality of your IT environment, Progent's patch management services permit your IT team to focus on line-of-business projects and activities that deliver maximum business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on
Progent's Duo authentication service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against password theft through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity confirmation with Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. With 2FA, whenever you sign into a protected online account and give your password you are requested to confirm who you are on a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A broad range of devices can be used as this added form of ID validation including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can register several verification devices. To learn more about ProSight Duo identity validation services, see Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.
- ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
ProSight Reporting is an expanding suite of real-time management reporting utilities designed to work with the industry's leading ticketing and network monitoring platforms including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues such as spotty support follow-up or endpoints with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.