Crypto-Ransomware : Your Worst IT Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an attack. Multiple generations of ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and continue to cause harm. Modern strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, along with more unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of online critical data but also infiltrate most configured system backups. Information synchronized to the cloud can also be ransomed. In a vulnerable data protection solution, this can make automated restore operations impossible and basically sets the datacenter back to zero.

Recovering applications and information following a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against time as the victim fights to stop lateral movement and clear the crypto-ransomware and to resume mission-critical operations. Since crypto-ransomware takes time to replicate, assaults are usually launched at night, when successful penetrations in many cases take more time to notice. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly assembling and orchestrating a qualified mitigation team.

Progent provides a variety of solutions for protecting businesses from crypto-ransomware events. Among these are staff education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security gateways with AI technology from SentinelOne to detect and disable new cyber threats quickly. Progent also offers the services of seasoned ransomware recovery consultants with the track record and perseverance to rebuild a compromised network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Support Services
After a crypto-ransomware attack, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will provide the codes to unencrypt any of your data. Kaspersky determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The fallback is to setup from scratch the key components of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of full data backups, this calls for a broad complement of skill sets, well-coordinated team management, and the capability to work non-stop until the job is complete.

For twenty years, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for companies in Birmingham and across the US and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have been awarded top industry certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise in financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the skills to knowledgably understand critical systems and re-organize the remaining components of your network system after a crypto-ransomware penetration and rebuild them into a functioning system.

Progent's ransomware team deploys state-of-the-art project management applications to orchestrate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the importance of acting rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology resources to assign priority to tasks and to get key applications back online as fast as possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A client hired Progent after their organization was brought down by the Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is generally considered to have been deployed by Northern Korean state sponsored hackers, suspected of adopting approaches leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with limited ability to sustain disruption and is one of the most lucrative incarnations of ransomware malware. Major targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturer located in Chicago and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk intrusion had disabled all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's information backups had been directly accessible at the time of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom (in excess of $200,000) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end brought in Progent.


"I can't say enough in regards to the support Progent provided us throughout the most fearful time of (our) businesses existence. We had little choice but to pay the criminal gangs if not for the confidence the Progent team provided us. The fact that you could get our messaging and key servers back on-line quicker than five days was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single consultant I got help from or e-mailed at Progent was totally committed on getting my company operational and was working all day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked with the client to rapidly identify and prioritize the most important systems that had to be restored in order to restart departmental operations:

  • Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent followed Anti-virus penetration response industry best practices by isolating and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then began the task of restoring Microsoft AD, the foundation of enterprise environments built on Microsoft technology. Exchange email will not function without AD, and the client's MRP software leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which needs Windows AD for security authorization to the databases.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then completed reinstallations and hard drive recovery of critical applications. All Microsoft Exchange Server schema and attributes were usable, which facilitated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble intact OST files (Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on various PCs in order to recover mail information. A recent offline backup of the businesses accounting/ERP software made it possible to restore these vital programs back online for users. Although major work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk event, essential systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the production line operation showed little impact and we did not miss any customer shipments."

Throughout the next few weeks key milestones in the restoration project were completed in tight cooperation between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than four million historical emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory capabilities were 100 percent restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed.
  • 90% of the user PCs were operational.

"A huge amount of what went on those first few days is nearly entirely a fog for me, but our team will not soon forget the urgency all of you accomplished to give us our business back. I've entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This event was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A probable company-ending catastrophe was evaded due to hard-working experts, a broad range of subject matter expertise, and tight teamwork. Although in hindsight the ransomware attack detailed here would have been shut down with current security technology solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user education, and properly executed incident response procedures for data backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality remains that state-sponsored hackers from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others who were helping), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it through the initial fire. Everyone did an amazing job, and if any of your guys is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in Birmingham a range of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI capability to detect new strains of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to guard physical and virtual endpoints against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-matching AV products. ProSight ASM protects local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to address the entire threat lifecycle including blocking, detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services deliver affordable multi-layer protection for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and responding to security assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device management, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent managed from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist you to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your organization's specific needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data security regulations. Progent will assist you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alerts that call for urgent attention. Progent's consultants can also help you to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint security and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup/restore software companies to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a selection of subscription-based offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your data backup operations and enable non-disruptive backup and fast recovery of important files/folders, apps, images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps you protect against data loss resulting from equipment breakdown, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, user mistakes, malicious employees, or software glitches. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent service representative can assist you to identify which of these managed 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 service that incorporates the technology of top information security vendors to deliver centralized control and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway device to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. The cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your network firewall. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite security gateway appliance adds a further level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, track, enhance and troubleshoot their networking appliances such as switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, captures and manages the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when potential issues are detected. By automating time-consuming network management activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that require important software patches, or isolating performance bottlenecks. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to keep your IT system operating at peak levels by checking the health of critical computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alert is sent automatically to your specified IT staff and your assigned Progent consultant so all looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt productivity. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's IT support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the OS software, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to a different hardware solution without a time-consuming and difficult configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into 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 makes it easy to create, update, find and safeguard information related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and organizing your IT documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time thrown away looking for vital information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes 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 gathering and relating IT data. Whether you're making enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you need the instant you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates cutting edge behavior analysis technology to guard endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-based anti-virus products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to manage the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time network-wide immunization against new attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Center: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Call Desk managed services allow your IT team to offload Call Center services to Progent or split responsibilities for support services seamlessly between your internal network support staff and Progent's extensive pool of IT service engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a smooth extension of your internal IT support resources. User interaction with the Service Desk, provision of technical assistance, issue escalation, ticket creation and tracking, efficiency metrics, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive regardless of whether incidents are taken care of by your in-house support staff, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/shared Call Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management provide businesses of any size a versatile and cost-effective alternative for assessing, testing, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your dynamic IT network. Besides optimizing the protection and reliability of your IT network, Progent's patch management services free up time for your in-house IT team to focus on line-of-business projects and tasks that derive the highest business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity verification on Apple iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. Using 2FA, whenever you sign into a secured application and give your password you are asked to verify who you are on a unit that only you have and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A wide range of devices can be used for this second means of ID validation including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can designate multiple verification devices. For details about Duo identity authentication services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is an expanding family of in-depth reporting utilities created to integrate with the top ticketing and network monitoring applications including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to surface and contextualize key issues like spotty support follow-up or machines with out-of-date AVs. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, reduces management hassle, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For Birmingham 24/7/365 Ransomware Cleanup Support Services, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.