Crypto-Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become a modern cyberplague that presents an extinction-level threat for organizations unprepared for an assault. Multiple generations of ransomware like the Dharma, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for years and still cause harm. More recent strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, LockBit or Egregor, plus more unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of on-line data files but also infect any accessible system backup. Data synched to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed system, it can make automatic restore operations impossible and effectively sets the datacenter back to zero.

Getting back online programs and information following a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against time as the victim struggles to contain and remove the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical operations. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware requires time to replicate, penetrations are usually sprung during weekends and nights, when successful attacks are likely to take more time to discover. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and coordinating a capable response team.

Progent provides a variety of support services for securing organizations from ransomware attacks. These include user training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of the latest generation security appliances with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and quarantine zero-day cyber threats rapidly. Progent also provides the services of expert crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the skills and perseverance to rebuild a compromised network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Following a ransomware penetration, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber criminals will provide the keys to decipher all your files. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information after having paid the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The alternative is to re-install the mission-critical parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent access to complete data backups, this requires a broad range of skill sets, professional project management, and the capability to work continuously until the recovery project is finished.

For decades, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for businesses in Brighton and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have been awarded high-level industry certifications in leading technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security specialists have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP application software. This breadth of experience gives Progent the skills to knowledgably identify critical systems and integrate the remaining pieces of your Information Technology system after a ransomware penetration and assemble them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware group deploys best of breed project management applications to coordinate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent appreciates the importance of working rapidly and together with a client's management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to put critical applications back on-line as soon as humanly possible.

Client Story: A Successful Ransomware Incident Response
A customer escalated to Progent after their organization was attacked by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been launched by Northern Korean state criminal gangs, possibly adopting strategies leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific organizations with limited tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of ransomware malware. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area with about 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had shut down all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's backups had been on-line at the beginning of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (exceeding $200K) and praying for the best, but in the end called Progent.


"I can't speak enough about the support Progent gave us throughout the most stressful time of (our) businesses survival. We had little choice but to pay the Hackers except for the confidence the Progent team provided us. That you could get our e-mail and important servers back on-line faster than one week was earth shattering. Every single expert I interacted with or e-mailed at Progent was urgently focused on getting us back on-line and was working day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the client to rapidly determine and prioritize the key services that had to be recovered in order to resume business operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus incident mitigation best practices by stopping the spread and removing active viruses. Progent then initiated the work of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Exchange email will not work without AD, and the client's financials and MRP applications used Microsoft SQL Server, which needs Windows AD for authentication to the databases.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then assisted with setup and storage recovery of essential systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server data and attributes were usable, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble local OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff PCs to recover mail information. A recent off-line backup of the businesses manufacturing systems made it possible to recover these required applications back online for users. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover totally from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were returned to operations quickly:


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

During the following month key milestones in the recovery process were accomplished in tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • Internal web sites were brought back up with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding 4 million archived emails was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were completely restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was installed.
  • 90% of the desktops and laptops were back into operation.

"A huge amount of what happened that first week is mostly a blur for me, but my management will not forget the care all of you put in to give us our company back. I've trusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered. This situation was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A potential company-ending disaster was evaded due to top-tier experts, a wide range of technical expertise, and tight teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware virus penetration described here would have been identified and stopped with advanced cyber security technology and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, staff training, and properly executed security procedures for information protection and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that state-sponsored cyber criminals from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus defense, remediation, and information systems restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others that were involved), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it through the first week. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if any of your team is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers companies in Brighton a portfolio of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services utilize modern AI technology to uncover zero-day variants of ransomware that are able to get past traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • 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 cutting edge behavior-based machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily escape legacy signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight ASM safeguards local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire threat progression including filtering, detection, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services deliver affordable in-depth security for physical and virtual servers, workstations, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, intrusion alerts, endpoint management, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies packaged within one agent managed from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can assist your business to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's unique requirements and that allows you prove compliance with legal and industry data protection standards. Progent will assist you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that call for immediate action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup/restore technology providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products automate and monitor your data backup processes and allow non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of vital files/folders, applications, system images, and virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business recover from data loss caused by equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, user mistakes, malicious employees, or application bugs. Managed backup services in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can assist you to identify which of these fully 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 and virus filtering service that uses the infrastructure of top information security vendors to provide centralized control and comprehensive protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local gateway appliance to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway device provides a deeper layer of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more information, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller businesses to map, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware such as routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network maps are kept updated, copies and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when problems are detected. By automating time-consuming network management processes, WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary chores such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating devices that need critical updates, or resolving performance problems. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your IT system running at peak levels by checking the health of vital assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alert is transmitted automatically to your specified IT management personnel and your Progent engineering consultant so all looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host set up and managed by Progent's network support experts. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer owns the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hardware solution without requiring a lengthy and technically risky configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting service. Find out more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and protect information related to your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to 50% of time thrown away trying to find critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for holding and collaborating on all documents required for managing your business network such as recommended procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether you're making improvements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need as soon as you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates next generation behavior-based analysis tools to defend endpoints and physical and virtual servers against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily evade legacy signature-matching AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to automate the complete malware attack progression including protection, identification, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center managed services enable your IT team to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for support services transparently between your internal network support group and Progent's extensive roster of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service offers a transparent supplement to your internal network support team. Client interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of support, issue escalation, ticket creation and updates, performance metrics, and maintenance of the service database are cohesive whether incidents are resolved by your core network support staff, by Progent's team, or by a combination. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Call Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your dynamic information system. Besides maximizing the security and functionality of your IT network, Progent's patch management services allow your in-house IT staff to concentrate on line-of-business projects and activities that deliver maximum business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against stolen passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables single-tap identity verification on iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. With Duo 2FA, when you sign into a secured online account and give your password you are requested to verify your identity on a unit that only you possess and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide range of out-of-band devices can be used for this added means of authentication including a smartphone or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can designate several verification devices. For more information about ProSight Duo two-factor identity validation services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.
For Brighton 24-7 Crypto-Ransomware Remediation Consulting, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.