Ransomware : Your Worst IT Catastrophe
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that presents an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an attack. Different iterations of crypto-ransomware such as CrySIS, WannaCry, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for a long time and still inflict damage. Recent strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Snatch or Egregor, plus additional as yet unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online files but also infiltrate any available system backup. Information synchronized to cloud environments can also be ransomed. In a vulnerable environment, this can make automated recovery hopeless and effectively knocks the network back to zero.

Retrieving applications and information following a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the victim fights to contain the damage and clear the crypto-ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware requires time to move laterally, assaults are usually sprung at night, when penetrations typically take longer to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly mobilizing and orchestrating an experienced response team.

Progent provides a variety of support services for protecting enterprises from crypto-ransomware events. These include team training to become familiar with and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to setup and configuration of modern security appliances with artificial intelligence capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and extinguish day-zero threats intelligently. Progent in addition offers the services of seasoned ransomware recovery consultants with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a breached system as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Following a ransomware attack, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will respond with the codes to decrypt any or all of your data. Kaspersky estimated that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the essential parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of full system backups, this calls for a broad range of skills, top notch team management, and the willingness to work continuously until the job is done.

For twenty years, Progent has made available expert Information Technology services for companies in San Diego and throughout the US and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes consultants who have attained top industry certifications in foundation technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity engineers have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience affords Progent the ability to efficiently understand critical systems and consolidate the remaining components of your Information Technology environment after a crypto-ransomware event and configure them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery group uses powerful project management applications to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of acting swiftly and together with a customer's management and Information Technology team members to prioritize tasks and to get key systems back on-line as fast as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery
A customer escalated to Progent after their network was brought down by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been created by North Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using algorithms leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk attacks specific companies with limited tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative iterations of ransomware. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturing business headquartered in Chicago with about 500 staff members. The Ryuk penetration had paralyzed all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's system backups had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (more than two hundred thousand dollars) and praying for good luck, but ultimately called Progent.


"I cannot say enough about the expertise Progent gave us during the most critical time of (our) businesses survival. We had little choice but to pay the criminal gangs if not for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. That you could get our e-mail and production servers back in less than seven days was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single consultant I interacted with or communicated with at Progent was absolutely committed on getting my company operational and was working at all hours to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly understand and prioritize the most important applications that needed to be restored to make it possible to continue company operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Email
  • Financials/MRP
To get going, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes penetration response best practices by halting the spread and removing active viruses. Progent then began the task of restoring Windows Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Active Directory, and the client's accounting and MRP software used Microsoft SQL, which needs Active Directory services for security authorization to the information.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory services to its pre-virus state. Progent then completed setup and hard drive recovery of essential applications. All Exchange Server schema and attributes were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to collect local OST data files (Outlook Offline Folder Files) on staff desktop computers and laptops in order to recover mail data. A not too old offline backup of the client's manufacturing software made them able to restore these required programs back online for users. Although significant work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, core systems were recovered quickly:


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

Over the following few weeks critical milestones in the restoration process were achieved in close collaboration between Progent team members and the customer:

  • Internal web sites were returned to operation without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding four million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory functions were 100% operational.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed and configured.
  • Nearly all of the user desktops and notebooks were fully operational.

"Much of what occurred those first few days is nearly entirely a haze for me, but our team will not forget the countless hours all of your team accomplished to give us our company back. I have utilized Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This situation was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A probable business extinction catastrophe was evaded due to results-oriented professionals, a broad array of technical expertise, and tight teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware attack described here should have been identified and blocked with advanced security solutions and best practices, staff education, and well designed security procedures for information backup and proper patching controls, the reality is that state-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has a proven track record in ransomware virus defense, mitigation, and information systems recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), thanks very much for allowing me to get rested after we made it past the initial fire. All of you did an amazing effort, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

To review or download a PDF version of this case study, click:
Progent's Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers businesses in San Diego a variety of remote monitoring and security assessment services to help you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include modern machine learning capability to uncover zero-day strains of ransomware that are able to evade traditional signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by legacy signature-matching anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including protection, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Key features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services offer affordable multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and responding to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint management, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist you to design and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's unique needs and that allows you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data protection regulations. Progent will help you specify and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that call for urgent attention. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business rapidly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with advanced backup technology providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services automate and monitor your data backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and rapid restoration of vital files, applications, images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets your business avoid data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned insiders, or software glitches. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS product line include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent consultant can assist you to determine which of these managed backup services are most appropriate for your IT environment.

  • 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 world-class protection for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Email Guard combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local gateway device to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's cloud filter acts 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 conserves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite security gateway device provides a further level of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the onsite security gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more details, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized organizations to map out, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware such as switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Using cutting-edge RMM technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept current, copies and manages the configuration of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when potential issues are detected. By automating time-consuming management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating devices that need critical updates, or isolating performance bottlenecks. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your IT system running at peak levels by tracking the health of vital assets that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted immediately to your specified IT staff and your Progent engineering consultant so that all looming issues can be resolved before they can impact productivity. Find out more details 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 or mid-size organization can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to a different hardware environment without a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting service. Learn more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that allows you to create, update, retrieve and safeguard information related to your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs or warranties. By updating and organizing your network documentation, you can save as much as half of time wasted looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether you're planning improvements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you require when 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 managed service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard endpoint devices and servers and VMs against new malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching AV tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to address the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, identification, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center services enable your information technology staff to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or split responsibilities for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal network support team and Progent's nationwide pool of certified IT service engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk offers a seamless extension of your internal network support staff. End user interaction with the Help Desk, provision of technical assistance, issue escalation, ticket generation and tracking, efficiency metrics, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether incidents are resolved by your in-house support organization, by Progent's team, or by a combination. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of all sizes a flexible and affordable alternative for assessing, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic IT network. Besides maximizing the protection and reliability of your computer network, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your IT team to concentrate on line-of-business projects and activities that deliver maximum business value from your network. Find out more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication service plans utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables single-tap identity confirmation on iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using 2FA, when you sign into a secured application and enter your password you are asked to confirm who you are via a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide selection of out-of-band devices can be used as this added form of authentication including an iPhone or Android or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register multiple validation devices. To find out more about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, visit Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
    ProSight Reporting is a growing line of real-time and in-depth reporting plug-ins designed to integrate with the industry's leading ticketing and network monitoring platforms such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize key issues like spotty support follow-through or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances productivity, reduces management overhead, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For San Diego 24/7/365 Crypto Remediation Experts, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.