Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Catastrophe
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a modern cyberplague that presents an existential danger for businesses vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware like the CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and continue to cause harm. Newer variants of crypto-ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Nephilim, as well as more unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line data files but also infect most accessible system restores and backups. Data synched to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a poorly designed data protection solution, this can render automated restore operations useless and effectively sets the network back to zero.

Recovering programs and data after a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the targeted organization struggles to stop the spread and clear the ransomware and to restore mission-critical activity. Since ransomware requires time to spread, assaults are usually launched at night, when successful attacks in many cases take longer to notice. This multiplies the difficulty of promptly assembling and coordinating a capable mitigation team.

Progent provides an assortment of services for protecting organizations from ransomware penetrations. Among these are team training to help identify and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of the latest generation security solutions with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to detect and quarantine day-zero threats automatically. Progent also provides the services of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the track record and perseverance to restore a compromised network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Services
After a ransomware attack, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will provide the codes to decrypt all your data. Kaspersky determined that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their information after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be around $13,000. The other path is to piece back together the critical elements of your Information Technology environment. Without access to full information backups, this requires a wide range of skill sets, well-coordinated project management, and the capability to work continuously until the recovery project is finished.

For twenty years, Progent has offered expert IT services for businesses in Atlanta and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes consultants who have earned high-level certifications in key technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to quickly ascertain necessary systems and integrate the surviving pieces of your Information Technology environment after a ransomware attack and assemble them into a functioning network.

Progent's recovery team of experts has top notch project management tools to orchestrate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of acting swiftly and in concert with a customer�s management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to put essential applications back online as soon as possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Incident Restoration
A business escalated to Progent after their network was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been developed by Northern Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of using strategies exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific companies with little tolerance for operational disruption and is among the most profitable versions of ransomware. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing company based in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had brought down all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data backups had been online at the time of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and wishfully thinking for the best, but ultimately called Progent.


"I can�t tell you enough about the support Progent provided us during the most stressful time of (our) company�s existence. We may have had to pay the cybercriminals if it wasn�t for the confidence the Progent group provided us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail and key applications back on-line sooner than seven days was something I thought impossible. Every single staff member I talked with or messaged at Progent was totally committed on getting us restored and was working 24/7 on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly understand and assign priority to the essential systems that needed to be addressed in order to restart company operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange Email
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes penetration response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then initiated the steps of bringing back online Microsoft AD, the core of enterprise networks built on Microsoft Windows technology. Exchange email will not operate without Windows AD, and the customer�s accounting and MRP applications leveraged Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory services for authentication to the databases.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then initiated setup and hard drive recovery of key applications. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect local OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on team PCs to recover mail messages. A not too old offline backup of the client's financials/MRP software made it possible to return these required services back online for users. Although a large amount of work remained to recover completely from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the production line operation did not miss a beat and we did not miss any customer deliverables."

Over the following month important milestones in the restoration process were completed through close collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding 4 million historical messages was restored to operations and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory functions were fully restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • Most of the desktops and laptops were being used by staff.

"Much of what was accomplished in the initial days is mostly a blur for me, but my team will not forget the urgency each and every one of the team accomplished to help get our business back. I�ve been working with Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered as promised. This time was a life saver."

Conclusion
A likely business catastrophe was dodged by results-oriented experts, a broad range of knowledge, and tight collaboration. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus attack detailed here would have been prevented with up-to-date security technology and best practices, user and IT administrator education, and properly executed incident response procedures for backup and proper patching controls, the reality remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incident, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, removal, and file restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were helping), thanks very much for letting me get rested after we made it through the initial fire. All of you did an fabulous job, and if anyone is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Atlanta a portfolio of remote monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize next-generation machine learning technology to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-based AV tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including filtering, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-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): Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver economical in-depth security for physical and virtual servers, workstations, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, endpoint management, and web filtering via leading-edge tools packaged within a single agent managed from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist you to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's unique requirements and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data protection standards. Progent will assist you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that call for immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and verify a backup and restore solution like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup/restore software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a family of subscription-based offerings that provide backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS products automate and monitor your data backup operations and allow transparent backup and fast restoration of important files/folders, apps, images, and VMs. ProSight DPS helps your business avoid data loss caused by hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, user mistakes, ill-intentioned insiders, or software bugs. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product family include ProSight Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Total Backup, ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine 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 incorporates the technology of top data security vendors to provide centralized management and comprehensive protection for all your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local security gateway device to provide complete defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne threats. Email Guard's cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of threats from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your exposure to external attacks and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance adds a further layer of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progents ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller organizations to diagram, monitor, enhance and debug their connectivity hardware like routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are kept current, captures and manages the configuration information of almost all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates notices when issues are discovered. By automating tedious network management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks like network mapping, expanding your network, locating appliances that need critical updates, or resolving performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progents server and desktop monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to keep your network running efficiently by checking the health of critical assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alarm is transmitted immediately to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that 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 consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hardware solution without a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting provider. Learn 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and protect information about your network infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSLs or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT documentation, you can save up to half of time thrown away trying to find critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized repository for holding and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether youre making enhancements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the information you need the instant you need it. Find out more about Progent's 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 analysis technology to defend endpoints as well as servers and VMs against modern malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to manage the complete malware attack progression including blocking, detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Service Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center managed services permit your IT staff to offload Help Desk services to Progent or divide activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your in-house support team and Progent's nationwide roster of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk offers a transparent extension of your corporate support group. End user access to the Help Desk, provision of support, escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, efficiency measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether issues are taken care of by your in-house support organization, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Call Center services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management offer organizations of any size a versatile and affordable alternative for assessing, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving information network. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your IT team to focus on line-of-business initiatives and activities that derive the highest business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo authentication managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity verification with Apple iOS, Google Android, and other personal devices. With Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a protected application and enter your password you are requested to verify who you are via a unit that only you have and that uses a separate network channel. A wide selection of devices can be used for this second means of ID validation such as an iPhone or Android or watch, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You may designate multiple verification devices. For more information about Duo identity authentication services, see Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.
For Atlanta 24/7/365 CryptoLocker Recovery Consultants, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.