Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Catastrophe
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that poses an extinction-level threat for organizations poorly prepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for years and continue to inflict harm. Modern strains of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, LockBit or Nephilim, as well as additional unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online critical data but also infiltrate any available system restores and backups. Information replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be ransomed. In a poorly designed data protection solution, it can render automated restoration impossible and basically sets the entire system back to square one.

Getting back on-line programs and data after a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the targeted organization struggles to stop lateral movement and eradicate the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware needs time to replicate, penetrations are frequently sprung during nights and weekends, when successful attacks may take longer to recognize. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly mobilizing and organizing a qualified mitigation team.

Progent makes available a range of help services for protecting organizations from ransomware events. These include staff training to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with installation of the latest generation security solutions with AI capabilities from SentinelOne to identify and extinguish day-zero cyber threats automatically. Progent in addition offers the assistance of veteran crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and commitment to reconstruct a breached environment as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Support Services
After a crypto-ransomware penetration, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will provide the codes to decipher all your information. Kaspersky determined that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the critical elements of your IT environment. Absent the availability of full information backups, this requires a wide complement of IT skills, professional team management, and the capability to work non-stop until the recovery project is over.

For decades, Progent has provided professional Information Technology services for companies in Lower Manhattan and across the US and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have been awarded advanced industry certifications in leading technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have earned internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISA, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience in financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the skills to rapidly identify necessary systems and organize the remaining pieces of your network environment after a ransomware penetration and configure them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts deploys powerful project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent understands the importance of acting rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology staff to prioritize tasks and to get essential systems back online as fast as possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Restoration
A business escalated to Progent after their network was taken over by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been deployed by North Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting approaches leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with little or no ability to sustain disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of ransomware malware. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturer headquartered in Chicago with about 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had shut down all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's system backups had been on-line at the time of the attack and were damaged. The client considered paying the ransom (exceeding $200,000) and praying for the best, but ultimately engaged Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough about the help Progent gave us throughout the most critical period of (our) company's life. We may have had to pay the cyber criminals behind the attack if not for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail system and essential servers back in less than five days was incredible. Each consultant I got help from or messaged at Progent was amazingly focused on getting our company operational and was working 24/7 on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly assess and assign priority to the key services that needed to be restored to make it possible to restart company functions:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To start, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes event mitigation best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then began the task of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Exchange messaging will not operate without Windows AD, and the client's financials and MRP system leveraged Microsoft SQL, which requires Active Directory for access to the data.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to recover Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then helped perform setup and hard drive recovery of key systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect non-encrypted OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on team PCs and laptops in order to recover mail information. A recent offline backup of the customer's financials/ERP software made them able to recover these vital programs back available to users. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, essential systems were restored rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation ran fairly normal throughout and we made all customer orders."

Throughout the next month critical milestones in the restoration project were completed through close cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over 4 million historical emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory functions were fully restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was set up and programmed.
  • Nearly all of the user PCs were functioning as before the incident.

"A huge amount of what was accomplished that first week is nearly entirely a blur for me, but we will not soon forget the urgency each of your team put in to help get our business back. I have entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This situation was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A possible business-killing disaster was averted by results-oriented professionals, a wide spectrum of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware virus attack described here could have been stopped with up-to-date security systems and best practices, staff education, and well thought out security procedures for data backup and applying software patches, the fact is that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a crypto-ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and file disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thank you for letting me get rested after we made it through the initial fire. Everyone did an incredible job, and if anyone that helped is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in Lower Manhattan a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services to help you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate next-generation AI technology to detect new variants of ransomware that are able to escape detection by traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior analysis technology to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape legacy signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to manage the complete malware attack progression including protection, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer ultra-affordable in-depth protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device control, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies packaged within a single agent accessible from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can help you to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's unique needs and that allows you demonstrate compliance with government and industry data security regulations. Progent will assist you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require urgent attention. Progent can also assist you to set up and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover rapidly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with advanced backup/restore technology providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products manage and track your backup operations and enable transparent backup and fast restoration of important files, applications, images, and virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business avoid data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural disasters, fire, malware like ransomware, user error, malicious insiders, or software bugs. Managed services in the ProSight DPS product family include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built storage, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these fully 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 service that uses the technology of leading information security companies to deliver web-based management and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with a local gateway device to provide advanced protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to external threats and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance adds a further level of analysis for inbound email. For outgoing email, the onsite gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more information, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map, monitor, enhance and debug their networking appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are always updated, copies and displays the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks such as making network diagrams, expanding your network, locating appliances that need important updates, or identifying the cause of performance bottlenecks. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your network operating at peak levels by tracking the health of vital assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is transmitted automatically to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that all looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host configured 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. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting solution without a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting provider. Learn 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 safeguard information about your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned about impending expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and organizing your IT documentation, you can save up to 50% of time wasted trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized location for holding and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like recommended procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether you're making enhancements, performing maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you require the instant you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that incorporates cutting edge behavior-based machine learning tools to guard endpoint devices and servers and VMs against new malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade legacy signature-based AV tools. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to address the entire threat progression including protection, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center managed services allow your information technology group to offload Help Desk services to Progent or divide responsibilities for Help Desk services transparently between your internal support resources and Progent's nationwide roster of certified IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a transparent supplement to your corporate support organization. End user interaction with the Help Desk, delivery of support services, escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, performance measurement, and management of the service database are consistent whether incidents are resolved by your corporate network support staff, by Progent's team, or both. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Center services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management offer organizations of all sizes a flexible and cost-effective solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and documenting updates to your ever-evolving information system. In addition to optimizing the security and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's patch management services permit your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and tasks that derive the highest business value from your information network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans incorporate Cisco's Duo technology to defend against password theft by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity verification on Apple iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. Using 2FA, whenever you log into a secured application and enter your password you are asked to confirm who you are on a unit that only you have and that uses a different network channel. A broad range of out-of-band devices can be utilized for this second means of authentication such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You may designate multiple verification devices. For more information about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, see Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
    ProSight Reporting is an expanding line of in-depth management reporting plug-ins created to work with the top ticketing and network monitoring platforms including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize key issues like inconsistent support follow-up or machines with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health problems clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves productivity, reduces management hassle, and saves money. For details, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For 24/7 Lower Manhattan Ransomware Removal Help, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.