Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ProfessionalsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that poses an existential danger for businesses vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, Fusob, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and continue to cause harm. Newer variants of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, LockBit or Nephilim, along with daily unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online data files but also infect any accessible system backups. Information synched to cloud environments can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed environment, it can render automatic restoration useless and basically sets the datacenter back to zero.

Getting back services and information following a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the victim tries its best to stop lateral movement and cleanup the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical operations. Since crypto-ransomware needs time to spread, penetrations are frequently sprung at night, when successful attacks in many cases take longer to recognize. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly assembling and orchestrating an experienced mitigation team.

Progent has a range of services for protecting enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are team training to become familiar with and avoid phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to installation of modern security solutions with AI technology from SentinelOne to identify and suppress new cyber threats rapidly. Progent in addition offers the services of experienced ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and perseverance to restore a breached environment as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Soon after a ransomware penetration, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber criminals will respond with the needed keys to unencrypt all your files. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their files after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly above the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be in the range of $13,000. The other path is to re-install the critical parts of your IT environment. Absent the availability of full data backups, this calls for a broad complement of IT skills, well-coordinated team management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the recovery project is done.

For decades, Progent has made available expert IT services for companies in Barueri-Alphaville and throughout the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained top industry certifications in key technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security specialists have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience in financial management and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the skills to rapidly identify important systems and organize the surviving components of your IT environment following a crypto-ransomware event and rebuild them into a functioning network.

Progent's recovery team uses powerful project management systems to coordinate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of working rapidly and in unison with a customer's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to get critical services back online as fast as possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Response
A customer sought out Progent after their company was penetrated by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been launched by Northern Korean state sponsored hackers, possibly using strategies leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific businesses with little or no tolerance for disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of ransomware malware. Major victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business headquartered in Chicago with about 500 staff members. The Ryuk attack had paralyzed all business operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's backups had been on-line at the start of the attack and were destroyed. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200,000) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately made the decision to use Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) businesses survival. We would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. That you could get our messaging and critical applications back online sooner than five days was amazing. Every single expert I worked with or messaged at Progent was absolutely committed on getting our company operational and was working non-stop to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to rapidly determine and assign priority to the most important applications that had to be addressed to make it possible to resume business operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent followed ransomware incident mitigation industry best practices by isolating and disinfecting systems. Progent then started the steps of recovering Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server messaging will not operate without AD, and the client's financials and MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL, which depends on Windows AD for security authorization to the data.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then assisted with setup and storage recovery of key applications. All Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to find intact OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user PCs in order to recover email messages. A not too old off-line backup of the client's accounting software made it possible to restore these vital applications back online for users. Although a large amount of work still had to be done to recover totally from the Ryuk attack, core services were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the production line operation was never shut down and we did not miss any customer sales."

Over the following few weeks important milestones in the recovery process were made in close cooperation between Progent consultants and the client:

  • Internal web sites were returned to operation with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over four million archived emails was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control modules were 100 percent functional.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed and configured.
  • Ninety percent of the user workstations were back into operation.

"A huge amount of what transpired those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but my team will not soon forget the dedication each and every one of you put in to help get our business back. I have utilized Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time Progent has impressed me and delivered. This time was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A likely company-ending catastrophe was evaded by hard-working experts, a wide spectrum of IT skills, and close collaboration. Although in post mortem the crypto-ransomware incident described here could have been prevented with modern security systems and security best practices, team training, and well thought out security procedures for information backup and proper patching controls, the fact remains that state-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of experts has a proven track record in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thank you for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it past the first week. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if anyone that helped is in the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in Barueri-Alphaville a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern machine learning technology to uncover new variants of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • 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 defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape traditional signature-matching AV products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including blocking, detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and VMs, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP delivers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device management, and web filtering via leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent managed from a unified console. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can help you to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's unique requirements and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data protection regulations. Progent will help you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that require urgent action. Progent can also help you to install and verify a backup and disaster recovery system like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup technology providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a selection of offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products manage and track your backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of important files/folders, apps, system images, and Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you protect against data loss caused by hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned employees, or application bugs. Managed backup services in the ProSight DPS product family include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these managed backup 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 and virus filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the infrastructure of top data security vendors to provide web-based control and comprehensive protection for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway device to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound threats and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite security gateway device adds a deeper level of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The onsite gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more information, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • 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 smaller businesses to map, track, reconfigure and debug their networking appliances like routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network diagrams are always current, copies and manages the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when potential issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off common chores such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that need critical updates, or isolating performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to keep your network running efficiently by tracking the health of critical computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alert is transmitted automatically to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that all potential problems can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • 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 key servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and managed by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to a different hardware environment without requiring a lengthy and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into one hosting service. Find out more 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and protect information about your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs or domains. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to half of time wasted trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing 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 collecting and associating IT information. Whether you're making enhancements, doing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need as soon as you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that incorporates next generation behavior analysis technology to defend endpoint devices and servers and VMs against new malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by legacy signature-matching anti-virus tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to manage the complete threat progression including filtering, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center services permit your information technology group to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or split responsibilities for support services transparently between your in-house support team and Progent's nationwide roster of certified IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service offers a smooth extension of your core network support resources. End user interaction with the Help Desk, provision of support services, issue escalation, trouble ticket generation and tracking, efficiency metrics, and maintenance of the service database are consistent whether incidents are taken care of by your in-house support organization, by Progent, or both. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management offer organizations of all sizes a versatile and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, testing, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving IT system. Besides maximizing the security and reliability of your computer environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services allow your IT staff to concentrate on line-of-business projects and activities that deliver maximum business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo technology to defend against compromised passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo supports single-tap identity verification with Apple iOS, Google Android, and other personal devices. Using 2FA, when you log into a secured online account and give your password you are requested to verify your identity via a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A broad range of devices can be utilized as this added means of authentication such as a smartphone or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You can designate several validation devices. For more information about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, visit Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
    ProSight Reporting is a growing family of real-time management reporting utilities designed to integrate with the leading ticketing and remote network monitoring programs including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and features color coding to surface and contextualize key issues like spotty support follow-up or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, reduces management overhead, and saves money. For details, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For Barueri-Alphaville 24-Hour Ransomware Removal Services, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.