Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsRansomware has become an escalating cyberplague that represents an extinction-level danger for organizations poorly prepared for an assault. Different iterations of crypto-ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for a long time and continue to inflict havoc. Recent versions of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Nephilim, plus more as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt online data but also infect all accessible system protection. Data synched to cloud environments can also be rendered useless. In a poorly architected data protection solution, this can make any restore operations useless and basically knocks the network back to zero.

Getting back programs and data after a ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against the clock as the victim struggles to contain the damage and cleanup the virus and to restore mission-critical operations. Since ransomware requires time to spread, assaults are usually sprung during weekends and nights, when penetrations may take more time to recognize. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly assembling and coordinating a qualified response team.

Progent makes available a variety of support services for protecting enterprises from ransomware penetrations. These include user education to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with setup and configuration of modern security solutions with AI capabilities to rapidly discover and suppress new threats. Progent also can provide the services of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the track record and commitment to reconstruct a compromised network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Support Services
After a ransomware penetration, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that criminal gangs will respond with the codes to decipher any of your information. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their information after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the essential components of your IT environment. Absent the availability of full data backups, this requires a broad complement of IT skills, top notch team management, and the ability to work continuously until the task is finished.

For two decades, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for companies in Columbus and across the US and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes professionals who have attained advanced industry certifications in foundation technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's security engineers have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the ability to quickly understand necessary systems and organize the surviving parts of your IT system after a crypto-ransomware event and assemble them into an operational network.

Progent's recovery team of experts utilizes state-of-the-art project management applications to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent understands the urgency of acting swiftly and in concert with a customerís management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to put key systems back on-line as fast as possible.

Client Story: A Successful Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A customer escalated to Progent after their company was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been launched by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, suspected of using technology leaked from Americaís National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific companies with limited room for operational disruption and is among the most profitable versions of ransomware. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business based in the Chicago metro area with about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had brought down all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's data backups had been online at the start of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and hoping for the best, but ultimately brought in Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough in regards to the care Progent provided us during the most stressful time of (our) companyís survival. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs if not for the confidence the Progent experts provided us. That you were able to get our messaging and essential applications back online sooner than a week was something I thought impossible. Every single person I spoke to or communicated with at Progent was hell bent on getting my company operational and was working day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly identify and prioritize the most important systems that had to be addressed in order to continue business operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes penetration response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then began the steps of restoring Windows Active Directory, the heart of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without AD, and the businessesí MRP software leveraged Microsoft SQL, which needs Active Directory for security authorization to the databases.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-attack state. Progent then accomplished rebuilding and hard drive recovery on critical systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server data and attributes were usable, which facilitated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to find local OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on staff PCs to recover mail information. A not too old offline backup of the client's accounting/MRP systems made them able to return these essential applications back servicing users. Although major work still had to be done to recover totally from the Ryuk event, essential systems were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the production operation survived unscathed and we made all customer shipments."

During the next few weeks key milestones in the recovery project were made in tight cooperation between Progent consultants and the client:

  • Self-hosted web applications were restored with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over four million historical messages was brought on-line and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory capabilities were 100 percent restored.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • Most of the user desktops and notebooks were back into operation.

"Much of what occurred during the initial response is nearly entirely a blur for me, but our team will not soon forget the countless hours each of you put in to help get our business back. Iíve entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered as promised. This event was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A potential business-ending disaster was averted due to results-oriented professionals, a wide array of technical expertise, and close teamwork. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the crypto-ransomware penetration detailed here would have been identified and stopped with up-to-date cyber security solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and well designed security procedures for information backup and applying software patches, the fact is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do get hit by a ransomware incursion, remember that Progent's team of professionals has extensive experience in ransomware virus defense, removal, and file disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Chris (along with others that were contributing), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we got through the first week. Everyone did an fabulous job, and if any of your team is around the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers companies in Columbus a portfolio of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize next-generation machine learning technology to detect new variants of ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes cutting edge behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade legacy signature-based AV tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to address the entire malware attack progression including blocking, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver economical in-depth security for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced heuristics for continuously monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint control, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible from a unified console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help you to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's specific needs and that allows you prove compliance with government and industry information security regulations. Progent will assist you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that call for immediate action. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and verify a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services automate and monitor your backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and rapid recovery of critical files, apps, images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business protect against data loss resulting from hardware breakdown, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned insiders, or application bugs. Managed backup services in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight DPS Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Backup, ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built storage, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can assist 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 uses the technology of top data security companies to provide web-based control and world-class protection for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises security gateway device to provide advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to inbound attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device provides a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the local gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more information, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for smaller organizations to diagram, monitor, enhance and troubleshoot their networking appliances such as routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, client computers and other devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network diagrams are kept current, copies and displays the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are discovered. By automating time-consuming network management processes, WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary tasks like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that need important updates, or isolating performance bottlenecks. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to help keep your network operating at peak levels by tracking the state of vital computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alarm is sent immediately to your specified IT staff and your assigned Progent consultant so that any potential problems can be resolved before they can impact your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's IT support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the applications. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hardware environment without requiring a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting provider. Find out more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that allows you to capture, update, find and protect information related to your network infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs or warranties. By cleaning up and organizing your network documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time thrown away trying to find critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like recommended procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and relating IT information. Whether youíre making improvements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need when you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to guard endpoint devices and servers and VMs against new malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by legacy signature-based AV products. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Learn more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center managed services allow your IT team to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or divide activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal network support staff and Progent's nationwide pool of IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SBEs). Progent's Shared Help Desk Service provides a seamless extension of your internal network support organization. End user interaction with the Service Desk, provision of technical assistance, problem escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, efficiency metrics, and management of the support database are cohesive whether issues are taken care of by your internal network support staff, by Progent's team, or both. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Help Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your dynamic IT system. Besides optimizing the security and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic projects and activities that deliver maximum business value from your network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo authentication managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity verification with iOS, Android, and other personal devices. With 2FA, whenever you sign into a protected application and give your password you are requested to verify who you are via a unit that only you have and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A broad selection of devices can be utilized as this second means of authentication including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can designate multiple verification devices. For more information about Duo identity authentication services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.
For 24x7 Columbus CryptoLocker Repair Help, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.