Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Catastrophe
Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that represents an enterprise-level threat for businesses vulnerable to an assault. Multiple generations of crypto-ransomware like the CrySIS, WannaCry, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for a long time and still inflict harm. More recent versions of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Egregor, along with more unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of online information but also infiltrate many available system restores and backups. Files synched to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable system, it can render automated recovery impossible and effectively knocks the network 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 contain the damage and cleanup the ransomware and to resume business-critical activity. Since ransomware takes time to spread, penetrations are usually launched at night, when successful attacks are likely to take more time to identify. This multiplies the difficulty of promptly marshalling and coordinating a knowledgeable response team.

Progent provides an assortment of help services for securing enterprises from crypto-ransomware attacks. Among these are user education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus installation of modern security gateways with artificial intelligence technology from SentinelOne to discover and extinguish day-zero threats intelligently. Progent also can provide the assistance of seasoned ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a breached network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services
After a ransomware attack, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that criminal gangs will provide the needed keys to decipher any or all of your information. Kaspersky Labs determined that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be in the range of $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the key components of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete information backups, this requires a wide range of skill sets, top notch project management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the task is over.

For decades, Progent has provided professional IT services for businesses in Corpus Christi and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained top certifications in leading technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security consultants have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to knowledgably determine important systems and re-organize the surviving components of your Information Technology environment after a crypto-ransomware event and assemble them into an operational network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts has state-of-the-art project management systems to coordinate the complex recovery process. Progent appreciates the importance of acting rapidly and in unison with a customer's management and IT staff to prioritize tasks and to put the most important applications back on-line as fast as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Attack Response
A small business engaged Progent after their organization was taken over by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, possibly using algorithms leaked from America's National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific organizations with little tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative instances of ransomware. Headline 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 headquartered in Chicago and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had brought down all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's system backups had been directly accessible at the start of the intrusion and were destroyed. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom (exceeding $200,000) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end engaged Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough about the support Progent provided us throughout the most fearful period of (our) company's survival. We most likely would have paid the hackers behind this attack except for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail and production servers back into operation sooner than 1 week was incredible. Each consultant I talked with or texted at Progent was absolutely committed on getting our system up and was working all day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly assess and assign priority to the essential elements that had to be addressed in order to continue departmental functions:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • Accounting/MRP
To start, Progent followed ransomware penetration response industry best practices by stopping the spread and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then began the work of rebuilding Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not work without Windows AD, and the customer's MRP applications used Microsoft SQL, which requires Active Directory services for access to the database.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Windows Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then assisted with reinstallations and hard drive recovery of the most important applications. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to collect local OST data files (Outlook Email Off-Line Data Files) on staff PCs in order to recover mail data. A not too old offline backup of the businesses accounting systems made it possible to restore these vital applications back on-line. Although a lot of work was left to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, critical systems were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation was never shut down and we did not miss any customer shipments."

During the next few weeks critical milestones in the restoration project were achieved in tight cooperation between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Internal web sites were brought back up with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server with over four million historical messages was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory capabilities were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was set up and programmed.
  • 90% of the desktops and laptops were back into operation.

"So much of what was accomplished during the initial response is mostly a blur for me, but my management will not forget the urgency each and every one of you put in to give us our business back. I have been working with Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has come through and delivered. This time was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A probable enterprise-killing catastrophe was averted by hard-working professionals, a wide array of subject matter expertise, and close collaboration. Although in post mortem the crypto-ransomware virus penetration detailed here could have been shut down with current security technology and best practices, team training, and well designed security procedures for backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality remains that state-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and are an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus defense, removal, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were involved), thanks very much for making it so I could get some sleep after we got over the initial fire. Everyone did an impressive job, and if anyone is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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 Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Corpus Christi a portfolio of remote monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence technology to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire threat lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services offer economical in-depth protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, penetration alerts, device management, and web filtering via leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent accessible from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist you to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that meets your company's specific requirements and that allows you prove compliance with government and industry data security standards. Progent will assist you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and verify a backup and restore solution like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup technology companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a selection of offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your data backup processes and enable transparent backup and fast restoration of vital files/folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business protect against data loss caused by equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned insiders, or application bugs. Managed services in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent service representative can assist you to determine which of these managed services are best suited for your IT environment.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the infrastructure of top information security companies to deliver centralized management and world-class protection for all your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway appliance to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne threats. The cloud filter serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound threats and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance provides a deeper layer of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the onsite security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays within your security perimeter. For more details, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map, monitor, enhance and debug their connectivity hardware such as routers, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are always current, captures and displays the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when issues are detected. By automating tedious management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, locating devices that need important updates, or isolating performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to keep your network running efficiently by checking the state of vital computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alarm is sent immediately to your designated IT personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that any potential problems can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hardware environment without requiring a lengthy and difficult reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and protect data related to your network infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSLs or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time spent searching for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common location for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your business network like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT information. Whether you're planning improvements, doing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you need the instant you need it. Learn more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Remediation
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior-based analysis technology to defend endpoint devices and physical and virtual servers against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily escape legacy signature-matching AV products. Progent ASM services protect on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to manage the complete malware attack progression including blocking, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Call Desk services permit your IT staff to offload Help Desk services to Progent or divide responsibilities for support services seamlessly between your internal network support resources and Progent's extensive pool of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Help Desk Service offers a seamless extension of your in-house IT support resources. User interaction with the Help Desk, provision of support services, problem escalation, ticket creation and tracking, performance measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether incidents are resolved by your core support group, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management offer organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective solution for evaluating, testing, scheduling, applying, and tracking software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving IT system. Besides maximizing the protection and functionality of your IT environment, Progent's patch management services free up time for your in-house IT team to focus on line-of-business initiatives and tasks that deliver the highest business value from your network. Find out more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA managed services utilize Cisco's Duo technology to protect against password theft through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables single-tap identity verification on iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you sign into a protected online account and enter your password you are asked to confirm your identity on a device that only you possess and that uses a different network channel. A broad range of out-of-band devices can be utilized as this added form of authentication such as a smartphone or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can register multiple verification devices. To learn more about Duo identity validation services, refer to Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing suite of real-time reporting tools designed to work with the industry's top ticketing and remote network monitoring programs including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues such as inconsistent support follow-up or machines with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For details, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For Corpus Christi 24/7/365 Crypto Recovery Consulting, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.