Ransomware : Your Feared IT Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for businesses unprepared for an assault. Different iterations of ransomware such as Reveton, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for a long time and still cause destruction. Recent strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Lockbit or Egregor, as well as additional as yet unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt online data files but also infiltrate most available system protection mechanisms. Information replicated to the cloud can also be ransomed. In a poorly architected system, this can render automatic restore operations hopeless and effectively knocks the datacenter back to square one.

Getting back programs and data following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the victim tries its best to stop lateral movement and clear the ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware requires time to replicate, assaults are frequently launched on weekends, when successful attacks in many cases take more time to discover. This compounds the difficulty of quickly mobilizing and orchestrating a qualified mitigation team.

Progent provides a variety of help services for protecting enterprises from crypto-ransomware attacks. Among these are staff education to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of modern security gateways with AI capabilities to quickly identify and disable day-zero cyber attacks. Progent also offers the services of seasoned ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and perseverance to restore a compromised network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Soon after a ransomware attack, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not ensure that merciless criminals will provide the keys to decrypt any or all of your information. Kaspersky Labs estimated that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their information after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the typical crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be approximately $13,000. The other path is to re-install the essential elements of your IT environment. Without the availability of complete information backups, this calls for a wide complement of IT skills, well-coordinated project management, and the ability to work continuously until the task is over.

For twenty years, Progent has offered certified expert IT services for businesses in Columbus and throughout the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have attained high-level certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity specialists have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise provides Progent the ability to efficiently understand critical systems and re-organize the surviving pieces of your network environment following a crypto-ransomware penetration and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's ransomware group deploys top notch project management tools to orchestrate the complex recovery process. Progent appreciates the importance of acting rapidly and in concert with a customerís management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to get the most important applications back on line as soon as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery
A client sought out Progent after their network was taken over by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been developed by North Korean government sponsored hackers, suspected of using strategies leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific businesses with limited room for disruption and is one of the most lucrative examples of ransomware viruses. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing company based in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had frozen all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's system backups had been on-line at the time of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200K) and praying for good luck, but in the end reached out to Progent.


"I canít speak enough about the help Progent gave us throughout the most fearful period of (our) businesses existence. We most likely would have paid the hackers behind this attack if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our messaging and critical applications back on-line in less than five days was beyond my wildest dreams. Each expert I got help from or e-mailed at Progent was amazingly focused on getting us back on-line and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked with the client to quickly identify and prioritize the mission critical areas that had to be restored in order to continue departmental functions:

  • Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Email
  • Financials/MRP
To get going, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes event mitigation industry best practices by halting lateral movement and performing virus removal steps. Progent then began the task of bringing back online Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built on Microsoft technology. Exchange messaging will not operate without Windows AD, and the customerís accounting and MRP software utilized SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for authentication to the data.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery of essential applications. All Exchange Server ties and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble non-encrypted OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff PCs in order to recover mail information. A not too old off-line backup of the customerís accounting/ERP systems made it possible to return these essential programs back servicing users. Although a lot of work remained to recover completely from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation ran fairly normal throughout and we delivered all customer deliverables."

Throughout the following few weeks key milestones in the restoration process were completed in tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Internal web applications were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over four million historical messages was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control modules were fully operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • Ninety percent of the user workstations were operational.

"Much of what transpired that first week is nearly entirely a haze for me, but my team will not forget the care each of the team accomplished to help get our company back. I have been working with Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This situation was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A probable business disaster was evaded due to dedicated professionals, a broad array of subject matter expertise, and close teamwork. Although in hindsight the crypto-ransomware virus attack detailed here would have been stopped with modern security technology and recognized best practices, user education, and well designed security procedures for data protection and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that state-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and data recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were helping), thank you for letting me get some sleep after we made it past the most critical parts. Everyone did an fabulous job, and if anyone is in the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Columbus a range of remote monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI technology to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by legacy signature-matching AV products. ProSight ASM safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to automate the complete threat lifecycle including filtering, identification, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against new attacks. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer affordable in-depth security for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint management, and web filtering through leading-edge tools incorporated within one agent managed from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can assist your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that allows you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security standards. Progent will help you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require urgent attention. Progent can also assist your company to install and test a backup and disaster recovery system like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and medium-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly price, ProSight DPS automates your backup processes and enables rapid restoration of vital files, applications and virtual machines that have become unavailable or damaged due to component failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver world-class expertise to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever needed, can help you to restore your business-critical information. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

  • 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 leading data security companies to deliver web-based control and comprehensive security for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local security gateway appliance to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. The Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your exposure to inbound threats and saves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a further layer of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map, track, reconfigure and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances such as switches, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, client computers and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology maps are always updated, copies and displays the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when potential issues are detected. By automating complex network management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores like network mapping, expanding your network, locating devices that require critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance bottlenecks. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by checking the state of vital computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alert is sent immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that any looming problems can be addressed before they can disrupt productivity. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's network support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the applications. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware environment without a lengthy and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting provider. Learn more details about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that makes it easy to create, maintain, retrieve and safeguard data related to your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or IP addresses and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your network documentation, you can save up to 50% of time wasted trying to find vital 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 like standard operating procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether youíre making enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you require the instant you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24x7x365 Columbus Crypto-Ransomware Cleanup Support Services, contact Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.