Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware has become an escalating cyberplague that poses an extinction-level danger for businesses poorly prepared for an assault. Different versions of crypto-ransomware such as CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for many years and continue to cause havoc. Recent versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Nephilim, plus more as yet unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of on-line data but also infect many available system protection. Information synched to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed system, this can render automatic restore operations hopeless and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.
Recovering programs and data after a ransomware attack becomes a race against the clock as the victim fights to contain the damage and clear the virus and to resume business-critical activity. Since ransomware takes time to replicate, assaults are usually launched during weekends and nights, when penetrations are likely to take more time to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and organizing a knowledgeable mitigation team.
Progent makes available an assortment of help services for protecting enterprises from ransomware events. These include team education to help recognize and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus setup and configuration of next-generation security appliances with AI capabilities from SentinelOne to identify and suppress day-zero cyber threats rapidly. Progent in addition can provide the assistance of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the skills and perseverance to rebuild a breached environment as rapidly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Following a crypto-ransomware attack, even paying the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that distant criminals will provide the needed codes to unencrypt any or all of your files. Kaspersky Labs estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the mission-critical elements of your IT environment. Without access to complete system backups, this requires a broad range of skill sets, top notch project management, and the ability to work continuously until the job is finished.
For two decades, Progent has offered expert Information Technology services for companies in Allentown and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes professionals who have been awarded top industry certifications in key technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity specialists have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with accounting and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to quickly understand necessary systems and consolidate the surviving pieces of your computer network environment following a crypto-ransomware attack and rebuild them into an operational network.
Progent's ransomware team of experts utilizes powerful project management systems to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent knows the importance of acting swiftly and in concert with a customer's management and IT team members to prioritize tasks and to get essential systems back on line as soon as possible.
Customer Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Restoration
A business hired Progent after their organization was brought down by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is thought to have been developed by Northern Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, suspected of using algorithms leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk seeks specific companies with limited room for operational disruption and is among the most lucrative iterations of ransomware viruses. Major organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturer headquartered in the Chicago metro area with around 500 workers. The Ryuk attack had frozen all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's system backups had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom demand (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and praying for good luck, but in the end utilized Progent.
"I cannot tell you enough about the support Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) businesses life. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack except for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. That you were able to get our messaging and production servers back online sooner than seven days was incredible. Each expert I interacted with or texted at Progent was laser focused on getting us working again and was working all day and night to bail us out."
Progent worked with the customer to quickly determine and assign priority to the essential services that needed to be addressed in order to continue company operations:
To get going, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes incident mitigation industry best practices by isolating and performing virus removal steps. Progent then initiated the task of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not operate without Active Directory, and the client's financials and MRP system utilized SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory for authentication to the database.
- Active Directory
- Electronic Mail
- MRP System
Within two days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then performed reinstallations and storage recovery of key systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server data and configuration information were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate non-encrypted OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on various desktop computers in order to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the customer's financials/ERP software made them able to return these vital services back servicing users. Although significant work needed to be completed to recover totally from the Ryuk virus, critical systems were returned to operations rapidly:
"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation survived unscathed and we delivered all customer shipments."
Over the following month key milestones in the recovery process were completed in tight collaboration between Progent team members and the client:
- In-house web sites were brought back up without losing any information.
- The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than 4 million historical emails was brought online and accessible to users.
- CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory Control functions were completely functional.
- A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was brought online.
- Most of the user PCs were operational.
"A lot of what happened in the early hours is nearly entirely a blur for me, but my management will not forget the dedication each of your team put in to help get our business back. I have entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has shined and delivered. This situation was a testament to your capabilities."
A likely business-killing disaster was averted through the efforts of results-oriented professionals, a broad spectrum of technical expertise, and close collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware penetration detailed here should have been disabled with current security technology and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff education, and properly executed incident response procedures for data protection and applying software patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do get hit by a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, removal, and information systems recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), I'm grateful for letting me get some sleep after we got past the initial fire. All of you did an impressive job, and if anyone is in the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"
To review or download a PDF version of this customer story, please click:
Progent's Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Allentown a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services include modern machine learning capability to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that can escape detection by legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.
For 24x7 Allentown Ransomware Remediation Help, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape legacy signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to automate the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, identification, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services offer affordable multi-layer protection for physical and virtual servers, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alarms, endpoint control, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's unique needs and that helps you prove compliance with legal and industry information security standards. Progent will help you specify and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that require urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a destructive cyber attack such as ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has worked with advanced backup software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your backup operations and enable transparent backup and rapid restoration of important files/folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps you recover from data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, malware like ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned insiders, or application glitches. Managed backup services in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these managed 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 incorporates the infrastructure of leading data security companies to deliver web-based control and comprehensive security for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises security gateway appliance to provide advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne malware. The Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps most unwanted email from making it to your network firewall. This decreases your exposure to inbound attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device adds a further level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The local gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller businesses to map, track, reconfigure and debug their connectivity appliances like switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept current, captures and displays the configuration information of almost all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends notices when potential issues are discovered. By automating complex network management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that need important updates, or isolating performance problems. Learn 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 network running at peak levels by checking the health of critical assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is sent automatically to your designated IT management staff and your assigned Progent consultant so any potential problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and managed by Progent's network support experts. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS software, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to a different hardware solution without requiring a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting provider. 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, maintain, find and protect data related to your network infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your network documentation, you can eliminate up to half of time wasted trying to find critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your business network such as standard operating procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you need the instant you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Active Defense Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection managed service that utilizes cutting edge behavior analysis technology to guard endpoints as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily evade legacy signature-based AV tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the entire malware attack progression including filtering, detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Learn more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.
- Progent's Outsourced/Shared Call Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
Progent's Support Center services allow your IT staff to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or divide responsibilities for Service Desk support transparently between your internal support staff and Progent's nationwide roster of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Help Desk Service offers a seamless extension of your core network support group. User interaction with the Service Desk, provision of support, issue escalation, ticket creation and tracking, efficiency measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive regardless of whether issues are taken care of by your corporate IT support staff, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/shared Help Center services.
- Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
Progent's managed services for patch management provide organizations of any size a flexible and affordable solution for assessing, validating, scheduling, applying, and documenting 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 IT team to focus on more strategic projects and activities that derive the highest business value from your network. Read more about Progent's patch management services.
- ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on
Progent's Duo authentication managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against compromised passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo supports single-tap identity confirmation on iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. With 2FA, whenever you log into a secured application and give your password you are requested to confirm who you are via a unit that only you have and that is accessed using a separate network channel. A wide range of devices can be utilized as this added form of authentication including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You may designate several verification devices. For more information about Duo identity authentication services, visit Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.
- ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
ProSight Reporting is an expanding suite of real-time management reporting utilities created to integrate with the industry's leading ticketing and network monitoring programs such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to surface and contextualize key issues such as spotty support follow-through or endpoints with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health problems clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.