Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that represents an enterprise-level danger for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an attack. Different iterations of ransomware such as Dharma, CryptoWall, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for many years and still cause destruction. Newer variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, along with daily as yet unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of on-line information but also infiltrate many configured system restores and backups. Data synched to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed system, this can render automated restoration useless and basically knocks the network back to zero.

Getting back on-line services and data after a crypto-ransomware outage becomes a race against time as the targeted business tries its best to contain and cleanup the virus and to resume mission-critical activity. Since ransomware requires time to move laterally, assaults are usually launched at night, when successful attacks may take longer to notice. This compounds the difficulty of promptly mobilizing and organizing a capable mitigation team.

Progent has a range of services for protecting businesses from crypto-ransomware attacks. Among these are team member training to become familiar with and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus setup and configuration of modern security solutions with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and quarantine new cyber threats intelligently. Progent in addition can provide the assistance of experienced ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and commitment to restore a compromised environment as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Soon after a ransomware event, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that criminal gangs will respond with the needed keys to unencrypt any or all of your information. Kaspersky estimated that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their information even after having paid the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly above the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The other path is to piece back together the vital parts of your IT environment. Absent access to essential data backups, this calls for a broad range of skills, top notch project management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the job is complete.

For two decades, Progent has offered expert Information Technology services for businesses in Midtown Manhattan 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 (SMEs) includes consultants who have attained top certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's security consultants have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise in financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience affords Progent the ability to quickly ascertain important systems and re-organize the surviving parts of your network system after a ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery team has top notch project management tools to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent knows the importance of working rapidly and together with a customer�s management and IT resources to assign priority to tasks and to get key applications back on-line as soon as possible.

Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Attack Recovery
A small business hired Progent after their company was crashed by the Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean state cybercriminals, possibly adopting technology exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little or no room for operational disruption and is among the most lucrative versions of ransomware viruses. Major victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturer headquartered in Chicago and has about 500 employees. The Ryuk event had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's information backups had been directly accessible at the beginning of the attack and were destroyed. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (more than two hundred thousand dollars) and hoping for the best, but in the end brought in Progent.


"I can�t tell you enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most critical period of (our) businesses existence. We most likely would have paid the hackers behind this attack if it wasn�t for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. That you could get our e-mail system and critical servers back online sooner than 1 week was beyond my wildest dreams. Each expert I talked with or e-mailed at Progent was absolutely committed on getting my company operational and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly identify and assign priority to the mission critical systems that needed to be restored to make it possible to resume company operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent followed ransomware penetration response best practices by halting the spread and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then initiated the process of bringing back online Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without AD, and the client's financials and MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL, which requires Active Directory services for access to the databases.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory services to its pre-penetration state. Progent then helped perform rebuilding and hard drive recovery on mission critical servers. All Exchange schema and attributes were usable, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to assemble intact OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on staff workstations in order to recover email messages. A not too old off-line backup of the customer�s accounting systems made them able to recover these vital services back available to users. Although a lot of work was left to recover totally from the Ryuk event, core services were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation never missed a beat and we did not miss any customer deliverables."

Throughout the following few weeks key milestones in the recovery process were made in tight collaboration between Progent team members and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web applications were brought back up without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Server exceeding 4 million historical emails was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control capabilities were 100% recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • 90% of the user workstations were operational.

"So much of what happened in the initial days is mostly a blur for me, but my team will not forget the commitment each of you put in to give us our company back. I have entrusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This situation was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A likely business catastrophe was averted by results-oriented professionals, a broad array of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware attack described here should have been identified and prevented with current security technology solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and properly executed security procedures for information protection and proper patching controls, the fact remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware incident, remember that Progent's roster of experts has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were helping), I�m grateful for letting me get some sleep after we made it over the initial push. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Midtown Manhattan a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern artificial intelligence capability to uncover zero-day strains of crypto-ransomware that can evade traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based machine learning tools to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight ASM protects local and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including filtering, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Key features include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time network-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer economical in-depth protection for physical servers and VMs, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, penetration alarms, device management, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent managed from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help you to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's specific requirements and that allows you prove compliance with legal and industry data security standards. Progent will help you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to install and test a backup and restore system like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup/restore software companies to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a family of management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services automate and track your data backup processes and allow non-disruptive backup and rapid recovery of important files, applications, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS lets you recover from data loss caused by equipment breakdown, natural disasters, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, user error, ill-intentioned insiders, or software glitches. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product family include ProSight DPS Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Total Backup, ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent consultant can assist you to determine which of these managed backup 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 incorporates the infrastructure of top data security vendors to provide web-based management and comprehensive security for your email traffic. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard managed service integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway appliance to offer advanced defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway appliance provides a deeper layer of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the local security gateway offers AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more details, visit Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    Progents ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller businesses to map, monitor, reconfigure and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network diagrams are always updated, captures and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when issues are discovered. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating appliances that need critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance problems. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progents server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management techniques to help keep your network running at peak levels by checking the state of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your designated IT staff and your assigned Progent consultant so that any looming problems can be addressed before they can disrupt your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host set up and managed by Progent's network support experts. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the OS software, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting environment without a lengthy and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into a single hosting provider. Find out more details 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 capture, maintain, find and protect information about your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to half of time wasted searching for critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for holding and collaborating on all documents related to managing your business network such as recommended procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether youre planning enhancements, doing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need as soon as you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to defend endpoints as well as physical and virtual servers against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by legacy signature-matching anti-virus products. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Learn more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Center: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Desk managed services allow your IT group to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or divide activity for Help Desk services transparently between your in-house support group and Progent's nationwide pool of certified IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Help Desk Service offers a seamless extension of your core network support organization. Client interaction with the Help Desk, provision of support, problem escalation, ticket generation and updates, performance metrics, and maintenance of the support database are consistent regardless of whether issues are resolved by your internal IT support organization, by Progent, or a mix of the two. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, testing, scheduling, applying, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving information network. Besides optimizing the protection and reliability of your IT network, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your in-house IT team to focus on line-of-business initiatives and activities that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Find out more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification with Apple iOS, Google Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, when you log into a protected application and enter your password you are asked to verify your identity via a device that only you possess and that uses a separate network channel. A wide selection of out-of-band devices can be used as this second form of authentication including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register several verification devices. To find out more about Duo two-factor identity authentication services, go to Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.
For Midtown Manhattan 24/7 Crypto Remediation Help, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.