Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsRansomware has become an escalating cyberplague that poses an enterprise-level threat for businesses vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware like the Reveton, CryptoWall, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for a long time and still inflict havoc. More recent versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch and Nephilim, along with more unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of online data but also infect all available system protection mechanisms. Information synched to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a poorly architected data protection solution, this can render automated restore operations impossible and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.

Recovering programs and data after a crypto-ransomware attack becomes a race against time as the targeted business tries its best to stop lateral movement and cleanup the ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware requires time to move laterally, attacks are usually sprung on weekends and holidays, when successful attacks may take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and organizing a qualified mitigation team.

Progent has a range of help services for securing Clearwater organizations from crypto-ransomware penetrations. Among these are team education to help recognize and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of next-generation security appliances with machine learning capabilities to automatically discover and quarantine new cyber threats. Progent also provides the services of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and commitment to re-deploy a compromised network as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Support Services
Subsequent to a crypto-ransomware event, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will provide the codes to unencrypt any or all of your information. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their data after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000 for smaller businesses. The alternative is to re-install the mission-critical elements of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete information backups, this requires a wide range of skills, well-coordinated project management, and the capability to work continuously until the task is complete.

For two decades, Progent has offered expert Information Technology services for businesses throughout the US and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes engineers who have been awarded high-level certifications in leading technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity specialists have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise in financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise provides Progent the capability to knowledgably ascertain critical systems and re-organize the remaining parts of your IT environment after a ransomware penetration and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's ransomware team of experts utilizes powerful project management applications to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent understands the importance of acting quickly and in concert with a client's management and IT team members to prioritize tasks and to get critical systems back on-line as soon as humanly possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Restoration
A business sought out Progent after their network was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been created by North Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, possibly using approaches leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk seeks specific organizations with limited room for disruption and is one of the most profitable versions of crypto-ransomware. Well Known victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturer located in Chicago and has about 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had shut down all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data backups had been directly accessible at the beginning of the attack and were destroyed. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom demand (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and wishfully thinking for the best, but ultimately made the decision to use Progent.


"I canít speak enough in regards to the care Progent provided us throughout the most critical time of (our) companyís life. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals except for the confidence the Progent team gave us. That you were able to get our e-mail and critical servers back into operation in less than 1 week was incredible. Every single expert I talked with or communicated with at Progent was totally committed on getting us back online and was working day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked with the client to quickly understand and prioritize the critical areas that had to be recovered to make it possible to resume business functions:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus incident mitigation industry best practices by isolating and removing active viruses. Progent then initiated the steps of bringing back online Microsoft AD, the core of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not operate without Active Directory, and the client's accounting and MRP system utilized SQL Server, which requires Active Directory services for authentication to the database.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then performed reinstallations and storage recovery on critical applications. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to find local OST data files (Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user desktop computers in order to recover email information. A recent offline backup of the businesses manufacturing systems made it possible to return these essential services back online. Although major work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk event, core systems were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation did not miss a beat and we delivered all customer orders."

Over the next few weeks important milestones in the restoration process were achieved in close collaboration between Progent team members and the client:

  • Internal web applications were brought back up without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than four million archived emails was brought on-line and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control modules were 100 percent functional.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was set up.
  • 90% of the desktop computers were fully operational.

"Much of what was accomplished those first few days is mostly a haze for me, but my team will not soon forget the care each and every one of your team put in to help get our company back. Iíve entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and every time I needed help Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This situation was no exception but maybe more Herculean."

Conclusion
A likely business-killing catastrophe was avoided by top-tier professionals, a broad range of knowledge, and tight collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware virus incident detailed here should have been identified and stopped with advanced security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user education, and well designed incident response procedures for backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that state-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware penetration, remember that Progent's roster of experts has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and file restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), thank you for letting me get rested after we made it through the first week. Everyone did an impressive effort, and if anyone that helped is in the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

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

Contact Progent for Ransomware System Restoration Consulting Services in Clearwater
For ransomware system restoration services in the Clearwater metro area, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or visit Contact Progent.



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  • Pinellas County Florida, United States Teleworkers Clearwater Consulting Services - Cybersecurity Solutions Expertise Clearwater St Petersburg Teleworkers Clearwater Consulting Services - Network Security Systems Consulting

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    24x7x365 Small Business Private Clouds Specialist

    Progent's Private Cloud Hosting service offers comprehensive hosting of a small organization's servers in a solution that delivers the maximum degree of dependability and scalability and is in addition easy to transfer to any data center. Progent's Private Cloud Hosting services are based upon mature virtualization techniques that enable small and midsize companies with mixed- platform environments to economize significantly on the costs of capital investments, system support, and network management while benefiting from enterprise-class fault tolerance and an unmatched level of vendor independence.

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    Progent's virtual classroom webinars provide small businesses the cost savings, ease, and flexibility of web-based seminars plus the effective training methods of experienced instructors who use the latest technology to reproduce live, participatory classes. Progent can provide webinar training for popular desktop applications including components of Microsoft Office such as Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Project: Dynamics business accounting and management information products including Microsoft Dynamics GP; plus additional popular desktop applications like Photoshop, Acrobat Writer, and Crystal Reports.

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    MOM Case Studies

    Before Progentís Microsoft Operations Manager solution, network issues were handled reactively, after users were impacted by them. With the benefit of proactive, computer generated warnings and trend reports created by MOM, Progent can now ward off system troubles before they grow to be serious enough to impact network uptime. Because of MOM, Progent can resolve looming problems before customers are aware that the problems exist. Progent offers help for MOM 2005 and Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 to offer small company IT systems enterprise-class service continuity, security and performance.

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    ISA Server Remote Support Services

    Progent's certified ISA Server consulting experts have broad backgrounds developing Microsoft-based security solutions for information systems with many sites, mobile users, and mission-critical eCommerce applications. A Progent ISA 2004 Firewall engineer can help your small business plan and implement an installation of Microsoft ISA Server 2004 that supports your information security needs without limiting your network.

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    Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants offer remote or in-person expertise to assist businesses of all sizes to plan, implement, manage, and repair a backup/restore solution built around System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager. Progent's consultants can assist you to upgrade from earlier versions of Data Protection Manager or from a different backup platform, and Progent can optimize your Data Protection Manager deployment for on premises, cloud-based, or hybrid datacenters. Progent can provide as-needed help for fixing particularly challenging issues, or comprehensive project management support. Progent's consultants can also help your business to incorporate Data Protection Manager into a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

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  • Network Admin Companies Live Online Microsoft 365 Training
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    Progent provides live remote instruction for popular client applications and environments such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 Excel, Word, Access and Visio plus Acrobat, Photoshop, Crystal Reports, and Microsoft Windows 10. Online training offers the benefits of traditional physical classroom instruction, including instant communication between clients and trainers, but avoids the costs of travel and the challenge of attempting to synchronize the schedules of multiple trainees. Available to individuals or groups of any size, Progent's live online training allows the teacher to conduct the class from an online facility while the students can be spread across an office or all over the country. Live online instruction utilizes powerful teaching mechanisms like virtual white boards, electronic hand-raising, and shared desktops. Sessions can be brief and personalized to specific subjects or longer in duration and broader in coverage.

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    Progent's certified failover clustering consultants can assist companies of all sizes to evaluate the benefits of utilizing Microsoft Windows Server 2012 failover clustering technology to build a powerful fault-tolerant/disaster recovery strategy, help your organization to design and deploy a Windows Server 2012 system, provide online and on-premises consulting services and engineering support for clusters composed of physical servers or virtual machines, and help you to centralize the management of failover clusters.

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    Progent's Juniper Networks-certified NetScreen consultants can help your company to configure and integrate NetScreen 5200 and 5400 routers, upgrade from older NetScreen products to the latest Juniper products, and troubleshoot network infrastructure issues in Juniper-only or mixed-vendor environments.

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    Progent's experienced ransomware recovery consultants can help your business to reconstruct a network breached by a ransomware attack such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, LockBit or Nephilim.

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  • Check Point Series 80 Technology Consulting
    Network Consulting Check Point 23000 Firewalls

    Progent's Check Point firewall experts can show you how to design, configure, and administer firewall environments that rely on Check Point Software Next Generation firewall appliances and Check Point's cloud-based security services. Progent's consultants can also assist you maintain older Check Point firewall models or upgrade efficiently to Check Point's modern firewalls.

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    Progent's managed services for patch management offer businesses of any size a flexible and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your virtual and physical; servers, such as scanners, infrastructure appliances such as routers and wireless access points, and IoT devices like sensors and health monitors.

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    Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup/restore service for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can include a purpose-built hardware appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar features but which utilizes your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects critical business data generated locally, at one or multiple remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any site with a physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a broad range of consulting services to assist your business to design, configure, manage and troubleshoot a BDR solution built on Barracuda technology.

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    Progent offers the guidance of a CRISC-certified risk management consultant to help you to plan and implement an enterprise risk management strategy following best practices identified by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines.

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    Progent offers national online help and consulting services for businesses that operate Apple Mac networks or whose IT systems include a mix of macOS and Mac OS X with Microsoft technology. Progent's experts offer Mac users a variety of services including desktop assistance, migration to the current edition of Mac OS X from earlier editions of Apple macOS and Mac OS X, plus help with macOS and Mac OS X applications. Progent can also assist you with Apple iPhone and Apple iPad integration and management, or migrating to iCloud services. Remote network consulting provides optimum return for your IT dollar by protecting user productivity and shortening the hours charged for network analysis and repair. Sophisticated remote support technology and experienced service specialists and engineers combine to enable Progent to solve the majority of IT problems without squandering time and expense by traveling to your location. In most of cases your IT problems can be remediated by telephone or via a combination of phone help and remote access. Progent can offer the services of Cisco CCIE infrastructure engineers and CISSP certified security professionals to help with the most challenging system problems.

  • Windows Server 2008 Security Onsite Technical Support Windows Server 2008 Hyper-VI IT Consultant
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  • Network Security Audit WatchGuard Firebox M670 Firewall
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    Progent offers support services for WatchGuard Firewall security appliances such as the WatchGuard Firebox and XTM families of Firewalls and the Firebox SSL Core VPN Gateway. Progent's WatchGuard consultants can show you how to select, deploy, and maintain a WatchGuard Firewall product that aligns with your network security needs and budget. Progent can help you to maintain outdated WatchGuard firewall appliances or migrate smoothly to modern WatchGuard firewalls.

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