Ransomware : Your Worst IT Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that poses an enterprise-level danger for organizations poorly prepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and continue to inflict harm. Recent versions of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Snatch or Nephilim, as well as more unnamed malware, not only encrypt online data files but also infect most configured system restores and backups. Information synchronized to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed environment, it can render automated restore operations hopeless and effectively sets the network back to square one.

Getting back programs and information after a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the victim struggles to contain the damage and eradicate the virus and to restore mission-critical operations. Since ransomware needs time to move laterally, assaults are usually launched at night, when attacks may take longer to identify. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly assembling and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent provides a range of support services for protecting enterprises from ransomware penetrations. Among these are user training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus installation of the latest generation security gateways with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to discover and disable zero-day cyber attacks rapidly. Progent in addition provides the services of veteran crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the track record and perseverance to rebuild a breached network as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Subsequent to a ransomware attack, sending the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber criminals will return the needed keys to unencrypt any of your files. Kaspersky determined that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly above the usual crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be around $13,000. The alternative is to re-install the key elements of your IT environment. Without the availability of complete system backups, this calls for a wide complement of IT skills, well-coordinated team management, and the ability to work 24x7 until the job is completed.

For twenty years, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for businesses in Broomfield and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have attained top industry certifications in key technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with accounting and ERP application software. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to rapidly determine critical systems and re-organize the remaining parts of your network environment following a ransomware attack and assemble them into a functioning system.

Progent's ransomware group uses top notch project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of working swiftly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to put essential systems back on-line as fast as possible.

Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Attack Response
A business engaged Progent after their network system was brought down by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been launched by Northern Korean state cybercriminals, suspected of adopting strategies leaked from America's National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific companies with little or no tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative incarnations of ransomware. Headline organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturer located in the Chicago metro area with about 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had disabled all business operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data protection had been online at the start of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom (exceeding $200,000) and hoping for good luck, but ultimately engaged Progent.


"I cannot say enough about the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most stressful period of (our) company's life. We would have paid the cyber criminals if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and key servers back online quicker than 1 week was amazing. Each expert I got help from or communicated with at Progent was totally committed on getting us working again and was working day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the customer to quickly understand and assign priority to the key areas that needed to be restored to make it possible to continue business functions:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To begin, Progent adhered to ransomware penetration response best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then initiated the process of restoring Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not function without Windows AD, and the client's MRP applications used SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for access to the data.

Within two days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then accomplished setup and storage recovery on critical systems. All Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate intact OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on team workstations and laptops in order to recover email information. A recent off-line backup of the client's financials/MRP systems made it possible to restore these vital programs back servicing users. Although major work was left to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, essential systems were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the production operation never missed a beat and we did not miss any customer shipments."

Throughout the next couple of weeks critical milestones in the restoration project were made through tight cooperation between Progent consultants and the client:

  • In-house web sites were restored with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding four million historical messages was restored to operations and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were fully restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was set up.
  • Most of the desktops and laptops were operational.

"A huge amount of what went on in the early hours is mostly a blur for me, but my team will not forget the commitment all of the team accomplished to give us our business back. I've trusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This situation was a life saver."

Conclusion
A probable enterprise-killing disaster was dodged with results-oriented experts, a broad spectrum of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although in retrospect the crypto-ransomware virus attack described here should have been prevented with current security systems and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, team education, and properly executed security procedures for data backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and are an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and information systems disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thank you for allowing me to get rested after we got through the most critical parts. Everyone did an amazing job, and if anyone that helped is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in Broomfield a portfolio of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence capability to uncover new strains of crypto-ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape legacy signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including protection, detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer affordable multi-layer protection for physical servers and VMs, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device control, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies packaged within a single agent managed from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that helps you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information protection standards. Progent will assist you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alerts that call for immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to set up and verify a backup and disaster recovery solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup/restore technology providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of management offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and track your backup operations and enable non-disruptive backup and rapid restoration of vital files, applications, system images, plus virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you protect against data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural disasters, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, human error, ill-intentioned insiders, or software glitches. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built storage, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to identify which of these managed services are best suited 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 and email encryption service that incorporates the technology of leading data security companies to provide web-based management and world-class security for all your email traffic. The powerful structure of Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway device to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. The cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and keeps most unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to external attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device provides a further level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more details, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, monitor, optimize and debug their connectivity appliances such as switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art RMM technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when issues are detected. By automating complex management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks such as network mapping, expanding your network, finding devices that need important software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to keep your network operating at peak levels by tracking the health of critical computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is transmitted immediately to your specified IT personnel and your Progent consultant so any looming issues can be addressed before they have a chance to impact productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's IT support experts. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the OS software, and the applications. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hardware environment without requiring a lengthy and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one 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, update, find and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save as much as half of time thrown away trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository 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 data. Whether you're making enhancements, doing maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you require the instant you need it. Learn more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes cutting edge behavior analysis technology to guard endpoint devices and servers and VMs against new malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-based AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to automate the complete threat lifecycle including filtering, detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Call Center: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center services enable your information technology group to offload Support Desk services to Progent or split responsibilities for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal network support group and Progent's nationwide roster of IT service engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk offers a smooth extension of your core network support staff. End user access to the Help Desk, delivery of technical assistance, escalation, ticket generation and updates, efficiency measurement, and maintenance of the service database are consistent regardless of whether issues are resolved by your core support organization, by Progent's team, or by a combination. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management provide businesses of any size a flexible and affordable alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your dynamic information network. In addition to maximizing the security and reliability of your computer environment, Progent's patch management services allow your IT team to focus on more strategic projects and tasks that derive maximum business value from your network. Find out more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo technology to defend against stolen passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity confirmation with Apple iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. With 2FA, when you log into a secured application and give your password you are asked to verify who you are via a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide selection of devices can be utilized for this second means of ID validation including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can register several validation devices. For more information about ProSight Duo identity validation services, go to Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is an expanding line of real-time reporting tools created to integrate with the industry's leading ticketing and network monitoring applications such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and features color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues such as inconsistent support follow-up or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For 24x7x365 Broomfield Crypto Cleanup Help, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.