Ransomware : Your Worst IT Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ProfessionalsCrypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyberplague that represents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware like the CrySIS, WannaCry, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and continue to cause damage. The latest strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Egregor, plus more as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line data files but also infect most available system protection. Data replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a vulnerable system, this can render automatic recovery hopeless and basically sets the datacenter back to square one.

Restoring programs and information following a ransomware outage becomes a race against the clock as the targeted organization fights to stop lateral movement and eradicate the crypto-ransomware and to restore business-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware requires time to spread, penetrations are usually sprung on weekends and holidays, when penetrations typically take longer to recognize. This multiplies the difficulty of promptly assembling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent provides a variety of help services for securing businesses from ransomware events. Among these are user education to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to setup and configuration of the latest generation security solutions with machine learning technology to quickly discover and suppress zero-day threats. Progent in addition can provide the services of seasoned ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a compromised system as urgently as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Services
Subsequent to a ransomware attack, even paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that distant criminals will provide the keys to decipher any of your files. Kaspersky Labs determined that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their files even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the mission-critical elements of your Information Technology environment. Absent access to complete data backups, this calls for a wide range of skills, well-coordinated project management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the task is finished.

For twenty years, Progent has provided professional Information Technology services for companies in Barueri-Alphaville and across the US and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes engineers who have been awarded advanced industry certifications in leading technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the ability to knowledgably ascertain important systems and consolidate the remaining parts of your Information Technology environment after a ransomware attack and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery group utilizes top notch project management systems to orchestrate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of acting quickly and in concert with a customer’s management and IT resources to prioritize tasks and to get essential systems back on line as soon as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Incident Restoration
A small business hired Progent after their organization was attacked by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been deployed by Northern Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of using strategies exposed from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific businesses with little or no room for operational disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of crypto-ransomware. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area with about 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's information backups had been online at the beginning of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom demand (more than $200,000) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately called Progent.


"I cannot say enough about the care Progent provided us during the most stressful period of (our) businesses life. We most likely would have paid the Hackers if it wasn’t for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. That you were able to get our messaging and production applications back into operation in less than 1 week was something I thought impossible. Every single person I got help from or e-mailed at Progent was amazingly focused on getting our system up and was working 24/7 to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly get our arms around and prioritize the key areas that had to be recovered in order to resume company functions:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Email
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes penetration response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then initiated the process of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not function without Windows AD, and the businesses’ financials and MRP system leveraged SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for authentication to the data.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then completed reinstallations and storage recovery on essential applications. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to assemble intact OST data files (Outlook Email Off-Line Data Files) on various workstations to recover mail information. A not too old offline backup of the customer’s manufacturing software made them able to restore these vital programs back servicing users. Although major work still had to be done to recover completely from the Ryuk damage, core services were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation never missed a beat and we delivered all customer shipments."

Over the next few weeks key milestones in the recovery process were accomplished through close cooperation between Progent team members and the customer:

  • In-house web sites were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over four million archived emails was brought online and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were 100% restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • Ninety percent of the user PCs were fully operational.

"So much of what happened in the initial days is mostly a blur for me, but we will not soon forget the countless hours each and every one of the team put in to help get our company back. I’ve trusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time Progent has shined and delivered. This time was a life saver."

Conclusion
A potential business disaster was dodged by dedicated experts, a broad range of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although in post mortem the ransomware penetration described here would have been disabled with up-to-date cyber security technology solutions and recognized best practices, user training, and well designed security procedures for data backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that state-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incursion, remember that Progent's team of experts has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and information systems restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others who were contributing), thanks very much for allowing me to get rested after we got over the initial fire. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if any of your guys is around the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in Barueri-Alphaville a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services incorporate modern machine learning capability to detect zero-day strains of crypto-ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes next generation behavior-based analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade legacy signature-based AV products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to automate the entire malware attack progression including filtering, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time network-wide immunization against new attacks. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services offer ultra-affordable multi-layer security for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced heuristics for continuously monitoring and responding to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, endpoint management, and web filtering through leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can help your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's specific needs and that allows you prove compliance with government and industry data security regulations. Progent will help you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that require immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also assist you to set up and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a potentially disastrous security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup activities and allows fast recovery of vital files, apps and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to component breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup specialists can provide advanced support to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can assist you to restore your critical information. Find out more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup.

  • 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 information security companies to provide centralized control and comprehensive protection for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local security gateway device to provide advanced defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne threats. The cloud filter serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of threats from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to external threats and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device provides a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outgoing email, the local security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more information, visit Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent’s ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for smaller businesses to map out, monitor, optimize and debug their connectivity appliances such as routers, firewalls, and access points plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Using cutting-edge RMM technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are always updated, copies and displays the configuration information of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating complex management and troubleshooting processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating appliances that require critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance problems. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent’s server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to keep your network operating efficiently by tracking the health of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your specified IT personnel and your Progent consultant so that any looming problems can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its key servers and apps hosted in a secure fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host set up and managed by Progent's IT support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hosting solution without a lengthy and difficult configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting service. Find out more details 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and safeguard data about your network infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned about impending expirations of SSLs or domains. By updating and managing your network documentation, you can save as much as half of time wasted searching for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for holding and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like recommended procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether you’re making improvements, performing 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.
For 24/7 Barueri-Alphaville Ransomware Removal Experts, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.