Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an assault. Different iterations of crypto-ransomware like the CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for many years and still cause harm. Modern variants of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Lockbit and Nephilim, along with more unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt online data files but also infect many available system backups. Information synchronized to the cloud can also be corrupted. In a vulnerable data protection solution, it can render any recovery hopeless and effectively sets the datacenter back to square one.

Retrieving services and information following a ransomware outage becomes a sprint against the clock as the victim tries its best to stop the spread and clear the crypto-ransomware and to resume mission-critical operations. Since crypto-ransomware needs time to replicate, penetrations are frequently sprung on weekends, when attacks typically take longer to discover. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly assembling and orchestrating a knowledgeable response team.

Progent provides a range of help services for protecting Charleston enterprises from crypto-ransomware penetrations. These include team education to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of next-generation security solutions with AI capabilities to quickly discover and extinguish day-zero threats. Progent also can provide the services of expert ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and commitment to reconstruct a breached network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
After a ransomware penetration, even paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not ensure that distant criminals will respond with the keys to decrypt all your information. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be around $13,000 for small businesses. The fallback is to setup from scratch the essential components of your IT environment. Absent the availability of essential information backups, this calls for a wide range of IT skills, top notch project management, and the willingness to work continuously until the job is finished.

For decades, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for businesses across the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have been awarded advanced industry certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to quickly identify critical systems and consolidate the remaining pieces of your network system after a crypto-ransomware attack and rebuild them into a functioning system.

Progent's security group uses powerful project management systems to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of acting quickly and in concert with a client's management and IT team members to prioritize tasks and to put essential systems back online as soon as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Incident Response
A small business engaged Progent after their organization was brought down by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by Northern Korean state hackers, possibly using technology leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific companies with little room for disruption and is one of the most profitable versions of ransomware viruses. Headline organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturer located in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had paralyzed all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's system backups had been on-line at the start of the intrusion and were destroyed. The client considered paying the ransom (in excess of $200,000) and praying for the best, but in the end brought in Progent.


"I cannot say enough about the help Progent provided us during the most critical time of (our) businesses survival. We had little choice but to pay the criminal gangs if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail system and key applications back on-line quicker than a week was something I thought impossible. Each expert I interacted with or e-mailed at Progent was amazingly focused on getting us restored and was working 24 by 7 to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly assess and assign priority to the essential systems that needed to be restored to make it possible to resume company functions:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To start, Progent adhered to ransomware incident mitigation best practices by stopping the spread and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then began the process of rebuilding Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange Server messaging will not function without Windows AD, and the businessesí MRP applications used SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for security authorization to the databases.

Within two days, Progent was able to rebuild Windows Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then performed rebuilding and hard drive recovery of needed applications. All Exchange Server data and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to assemble non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on team workstations in order to recover mail data. A not too old offline backup of the client's financials/MRP systems made it possible to restore these required applications back online. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, essential systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation showed little impact and we produced all customer deliverables."

Over the following few weeks key milestones in the restoration project were accomplished in tight cooperation between Progent consultants and the client:

  • Self-hosted web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than 4 million archived messages was brought on-line and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables/Inventory capabilities were 100% restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • Ninety percent of the desktop computers were back into operation.

"Much of what was accomplished those first few days is nearly entirely a haze for me, but I will not forget the commitment each and every one of you put in to help get our business back. Iíve been working with Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered. This time was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A likely business-ending catastrophe was avoided with results-oriented experts, a wide range of subject matter expertise, and close teamwork. Although in retrospect the ransomware attack detailed here would have been identified and blocked with advanced cyber security solutions and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, staff training, and properly executed security procedures for information protection and proper patching controls, the fact remains that state-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are not going away. If you do get hit by a ransomware attack, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has proven experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, removal, and file restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (along with others who were contributing), Iím grateful for letting me get rested after we got over the initial push. Everyone did an amazing job, and if anyone that helped is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

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    Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) is an affordable collection of server products that provides the basis for a feature-rich but easy-to-manage information. The integration demands of the Microsoft .NET components bundled with Microsoft Small Business Server calls for an IT consultant with hands-on expertise and broad experience in planning and building cohesive and comprehensive information technology solutions. Progent's Microsoft-certified experts have broad backgrounds with the technologies incorporated in Microsoft SBS 2011 and Microsoft SBS 2008. This expertise assures you success in installing, managing, and servicing IT environments based on the Microsoft SBS suite of servers and programs.

  • Small Business Outsourced IT Services Network Administration Small Business

  • ASA Firewalls Computer Consultants
    Cisco firewall IPS Technical Support Services

    Progentís Cisco-Premier network experts provide professional PIX Firewall support services encompassing architecture, implementation and maintenance of Cisco firewall and Cisco security products. The Cisco PIX 500 Security Appliance Series of Cisco firewalls offers robust user and application policy enforcement, mutlivector threat security, and safe connectivity services. Extending from compact, easy-to-install desktop appliances for small offices and home offices to scalable gigabit products, Cisco PIX firewalls offer a healthy combination of protection, performance and reliability for business networks of all sizes. PIX firewalls are based on a proven, specially designed platform, PIX OS, minimizing potential OS-specific security vulnerabilities. The Cisco PIX Firewall has been awarded ICSA Firewall and IPsec certification plus Common Criteria EAL4 evaluation status. PIX firewalls provide multiple integrated security and networking services, including advanced application-aware firewall services, Voice over IP and multimedia security, multi-site and remote-access IPsec VPN connectivity, intelligent networking services, and flexible management tools. Progentís network experts can help you choose and deploy any Cisco PIX 500 Series firewalls such as the Cisco PIX 501 Firewall, the Cisco PIX 506 Firewall, the Cisco PIX 506E, PIX 515 Firewalls, the PIX 515E Firewall, the Cisco PIX 520 Firewall, Cisco PIX 525 Firewalls and the Cisco PIX 535.

  • Small Business Small Office Network Consulting Small Business Small Business Network Consulting Companies
  • Small Office Network Consulting Company Small Office Network Installations
  • Small Office Online Troubleshooting Small Business Remote Technical Support
  • SonicWall TZ400 Firewall Security Contractors Information systems Security Outsourcing SonicWall NSA 5650 Firewall

  • Best Network Consulting Forefront Network Inspection System
    Microsoft Forefront TMG Setup and Support

    Forefront TMG 2010 builds on the powerful security capabilities of Internet Security and Acceleration Server and provides a centrally managed web gateway that acts as a one-server solution for a variety of security features such as an multi-layer firewall, URL filtering, malware inspection, intrusion protection, application proxy, VPN control, and HTTP/HTTPS inspection. Forefront Threat Management Gateway provides advanced web security logging and reporting features, permits customized reports generated by SQL Server, integrates with Active Directory to streamline authentication, and can be installed as a virtual server to lower costs and improve recoverability. Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers can assist your company to plan and execute pilot and production deployments; interface Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010 with Windows Server 2008 R2, AD, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft SharePoint; set up Forefront Threat Management Gateway to operate on a virtual machine with Windows Hyper-V; and provide continuing support and repair services. Progent's consultants can also help your organization to migrate economically to Forefront Threat Management Gateway from ISA Server 2006 or ISA Server 2004.

  • Specialist Dynamics GP Great Plains Software Microsoft GP/Great Plains Technical Consultant
  • Specialist Google Cloud Anthos 24 Hour Google Cloud Backup Professional

  • Example Application MOM
    MOM 2005 Case Studies

    Before Progentís MOM-based solution, network problems were approached reactively, after workers complained about them. With the benefit of proactive, computer generated alerts and trend analyses sent by Microsoft Operations Manager, Progent is now able to address network problems before they becomes serious enough to impact network availability. Thanks to MOM, Progent can resolve potential problems before clients know that the problems are there. Progent has background with MOM 2005 and MOM 2000 to offer small company networks enterprise-class availability, safety and performance.

  • Specialists Exchange 2013 Collaboration Exchange 2013 Project Planning IT Consultants
  • Specialists External Cybersecurity Scan Technology Professional Cybersecurity Scan
  • System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager Network Engineer Immediate Remote Support SCDPM 2012 and Hyper-V
  • System Center 2016 Azure Integration Online Support System Center 2016 Azure Integration Integration Support
  • Tech Consulting Small Business Small Business Professionals
  • Technical Consultant Microsoft System Center Operations Manager MOM 2007 Remote Consulting
  • Technology Professional Email Virus Fingerprint Urgent ProSight Email Content Filtering Specialists
  • Telecommuter Services Support and Setup After Hours Telecommuter Services Support and Help
  • Telecommuting Jobs Network Remote Support Queensland Network Support Home Based Virtual Office Gold Coast Tweed

  • Remote OS X Infrastructure Consulting
    Support and Help iPad Architecture

    Progent's Apple Mac networking engineers can assist you with a broad array of network infrastructure areas including network architecture, remote and mobile access, internetwork compatibility, security, and emerging technologies such as VoIP and high-speed wireless connectivity. For business networks based exclusively on Mac OS X or for systems incorporating a combination of Mac, Linux and Windows powered servers and workstations, Progent has the experience and depth to handle the complexity of designing, configuring, and maintaining a system infrastructure that is robust, secure, productive and aligned with your business goals. Progent can show you how to configure Appleís Xserve enterprise servers, Xserve RAID fault-tolerant storage systems, and Xsan SAN systems. Progent can also give you access to skilled experts to help you with Cisco routers and switches.

  • Teleworkers Consulting near Charleston - Integration Solutions Consulting Services Charleston County South Carolina Telecommuters Charleston Expertise - Set up Guidance
  • Top Ranked Amazon AWS enterprise hybrid cloud solutions Development Emergency Amazon EC2 VPN Coding
  • Top Rated ISA 2006 On-site Technical Support 24/7 Network Security Audit TMG 2010
  • UNIX with Windows Onsite Technical Support After Hours Windows, UNIX, Solaris Consulting Services
  • Charleston Maze Crypto-Ransomware Remediation Charleston
  • Urgent 64-bit Server Integration Support Award Winning 64-bit Upgrade Remote Support Services
  • Urgent SQL Programming Firms Consulting Microsoft SQL Server
  • VMM Console Consultant Services SCVMM 2012 Backup and Recovery Remote Consulting
  • Voice over IP Engineers MS Office Communications Server Network Consulting
  • West Virginia Small Business Network Consultants Washington Computer Network Support Companies
  • Wi-Fi Site Survey Computer Consultant Remote Wireless Site Survey Remote Technical Support
  • Windows 2008 R2 Online Technical Support Professional Windows Server 2008 BranchCache
  • Charleston NotPetya Crypto-Ransomware Business-Recovery Charleston Mount Pleasant
  • Windows 7 Migration Troubleshooting Computer Consultant Windows 7 Integration
  • Windows Server 2000 Migration Consultants 24/7 Online Support Windows 2000
  • Windows Server 2012 IT Consultant Top Rated Support Services Windows 2012
  • Windows Support Companies Charleston Mount Pleasant, United States Emergency Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Setup Service Charleston County
  • Work at Home Employees Consulting Experts - Charleston - Management Solutions Assistance Offsite Workforce Charleston Expertise - Endpoint Management Tools Consulting Services Charleston, SC, U.S.A.

  • Remote Troubleshooting Exchange Server 2016 Migration
    Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Upgrade Planning Integration Support

    Progent can help you in all phases of your upgrade to Exchange 2016 such as designing HA architecture for an on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid deployment; CAL licensing compliance for Exchange 2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2; migrating mailboxes; Hyper-V design; specifying mass storage capacity required for your VMs, databases and log files; configuring HLB for high-availability CAS services; planning, setting up and testing Exchange Servers and Windows Servers and Database Availability Groups (DAGs); setting up collaboration with SharePoint Server or SharePoint Online; preparing the firewall; resolving SSL issues; providing client integration with Office desktop or Microsoft Office 365; and configuring Outlook on the web.


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