Ransomware : Your Feared IT Nightmare
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that presents an enterprise-level danger for organizations vulnerable to an attack. Different versions of crypto-ransomware such as Dharma, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and continue to cause havoc. Newer variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Egregor, as well as more unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online data but also infiltrate any configured system protection mechanisms. Information replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed system, it can render any restoration useless and basically sets the datacenter back to zero.

Getting back online services and data following a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the targeted organization tries its best to contain the damage and eradicate the ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware requires time to move laterally, assaults are often launched on weekends and holidays, when attacks typically take more time to detect. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and organizing a capable response team.

Progent offers an assortment of help services for protecting organizations from crypto-ransomware penetrations. Among these are user education to help recognize and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus setup and configuration of next-generation security gateways with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to discover and suppress zero-day cyber threats automatically. Progent in addition offers the assistance of seasoned ransomware recovery consultants with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a compromised system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Following a ransomware penetration, sending the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber hackers will respond with the needed codes to unencrypt any or all of your data. Kaspersky determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their files after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be approximately $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the essential elements of your IT environment. Absent the availability of full information backups, this calls for a wide complement of skills, well-coordinated project management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the recovery project is over.

For two decades, Progent has offered certified expert IT services for companies in Minnetonka and across the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have earned high-level certifications in key technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the ability to knowledgably ascertain necessary systems and consolidate the surviving parts of your computer network environment following a ransomware attack and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery team utilizes top notch project management tools to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent appreciates the urgency of acting rapidly and in unison with a customer's management and IT staff to prioritize tasks and to put critical systems back on line as soon as humanly possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Attack Restoration
A small business sought out Progent after their network was taken over by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been developed by North Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using approaches leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific businesses with little or no room for disruption and is one of the most lucrative iterations of ransomware viruses. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing company headquartered in Chicago with about 500 workers. The Ryuk attack had brought down all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's system backups had been online at the time of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200K) and hoping for the best, but ultimately reached out to Progent.


"I cannot say enough in regards to the support Progent provided us during the most stressful period of (our) company's life. We would have paid the cybercriminals if not for the confidence the Progent group gave us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and key servers back in less than one week was something I thought impossible. Each consultant I got help from or e-mailed at Progent was totally committed on getting us working again and was working 24/7 to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly determine and prioritize the critical applications that needed to be addressed to make it possible to continue business functions:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus penetration response best practices by isolating and disinfecting systems. Progent then began the work of restoring Active Directory, the heart of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Exchange messaging will not work without AD, and the businesses' accounting and MRP applications leveraged SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for authentication to the information.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then assisted with reinstallations and storage recovery of key systems. All Exchange data and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect local OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on various PCs in order to recover mail information. A recent off-line backup of the client's financials/MRP software made them able to restore these essential services back servicing users. Although a large amount of work remained to recover completely from the Ryuk event, core services were returned to operations rapidly:


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

Over the next month critical milestones in the recovery project were completed in tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than 4 million archived messages was brought online and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were 100% restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was installed and configured.
  • 90% of the user desktops were fully operational.

"A lot of what happened in the initial days is nearly entirely a haze for me, but our team will not soon forget the commitment each and every one of the team put in to give us our business back. I've trusted Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and each time Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This time was a Herculean accomplishment."

Conclusion
A likely business disaster was evaded by results-oriented experts, a broad range of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although in post mortem the ransomware attack described here could have been identified and prevented with up-to-date cyber security technology and best practices, staff training, and properly executed incident response procedures for information backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware attack, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), thanks very much for allowing me to get some sleep after we made it over the most critical parts. Everyone did an amazing job, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Minnetonka a range of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize next-generation machine learning capability to uncover zero-day variants of ransomware that can evade traditional signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire malware attack progression including filtering, infiltration detection, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver economical in-depth protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to cyber threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alerts, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge tools incorporated within one agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security standards. Progent will assist you specify and implement policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent can also help you to install and verify a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a portfolio of subscription-based offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products automate and track your backup processes and enable non-disruptive backup and rapid recovery of important files/folders, applications, images, plus VMs. ProSight DPS helps you recover from data loss caused by hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, malware like ransomware, human error, ill-intentioned employees, or software bugs. Managed services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can assist you to identify which of these managed services are most appropriate 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 service that uses the technology of top information security vendors to provide web-based management and comprehensive protection for all your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises security gateway device to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. The Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps most threats from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to external attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite gateway can also assist Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for smaller organizations to diagram, monitor, optimize and debug their networking appliances like routers, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are kept updated, captures and manages the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates notices when issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming management activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off common chores such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that need important software patches, or isolating performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the state of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alert is sent immediately to your designated IT staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that any looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. 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 ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and apps hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual host set up and managed by Progent's network support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the OS software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to a different hosting solution without requiring a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting service. Learn more details 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, update, retrieve and protect information about your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSLs or domains. By updating and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save as much as 50% of time thrown away searching for critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you require as soon as you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that incorporates cutting edge behavior machine learning tools to defend endpoints as well as physical and virtual servers against modern malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by legacy signature-matching AV products. Progent ASM services protect on-premises and cloud resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire threat progression including blocking, identification, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and automatic network-wide immunization against new attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center managed services enable your IT group to offload Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for support services seamlessly between your in-house network support group and Progent's nationwide roster of certified IT service engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk offers a seamless supplement to your corporate network support organization. Client interaction with the Service Desk, provision of support, problem escalation, trouble ticket generation and tracking, performance metrics, and management of the service database are cohesive regardless of whether incidents are resolved by your corporate support resources, by Progent's team, or by a combination. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Service Center services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide businesses of any size a flexible and affordable solution for evaluating, testing, scheduling, applying, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving information system. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your computer environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services permit your IT staff to concentrate on line-of-business initiatives and tasks that deliver the highest business value from your network. Find out more about Progent's patch management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans incorporate Cisco's Duo technology to defend against password theft by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity verification on Apple iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. With Duo 2FA, when you sign into a protected application and enter your password you are requested to verify who you are via a unit that only you have and that uses a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A wide selection of devices can be utilized as this second form of ID validation including a smartphone or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You can designate multiple verification devices. For details about Duo identity validation services, refer to Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing family of real-time and in-depth reporting plug-ins designed to integrate with the leading ticketing and remote network monitoring platforms such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and features color coding to surface and contextualize critical issues like spotty support follow-up or endpoints with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For details, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For Minnetonka 24x7x365 Crypto Cleanup Consulting, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.