Ransomware : Your Worst IT Disaster
Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for businesses vulnerable to an assault. Versions of crypto-ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for many years and continue to cause destruction. Newer variants of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Nephilim, along with additional unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line information but also infect most configured system backups. Data replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed environment, it can make automated restore operations useless and basically knocks the entire system back to zero.
Getting back on-line applications and information following a ransomware event becomes a race against the clock as the victim tries its best to stop lateral movement and clear the virus and to restore mission-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware takes time to replicate, assaults are frequently launched on weekends, when successful attacks in many cases take longer to discover. This multiplies the difficulty of promptly marshalling and orchestrating a capable response team.
Progent has a variety of services for securing businesses from crypto-ransomware attacks. These include staff training to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security gateways with artificial intelligence technology from SentinelOne to detect and suppress zero-day cyber threats rapidly. Progent also provides the assistance of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the track record and perseverance to reconstruct a breached system as soon as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Subsequent to a crypto-ransomware event, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will respond with the needed codes to decipher any or all of your files. Kaspersky determined that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the usual crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The alternative is to re-install the critical parts of your IT environment. Absent the availability of essential system backups, this requires a broad complement of skill sets, top notch team management, and the ability to work 24x7 until the job is finished.
For twenty years, Progent has made available certified expert IT services for businesses in Phoenix and across the US and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have attained high-level industry certifications in leading technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's security consultants have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience affords Progent the ability to knowledgably ascertain necessary systems and integrate the surviving parts of your Information Technology system following a ransomware attack and rebuild them into an operational system.
Progent's recovery group utilizes best of breed project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working quickly and in concert with a customer's management and IT staff to assign priority to tasks and to put critical services back online as fast as possible.
Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A customer sought out Progent after their network was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is thought to have been launched by Northern Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using algorithms exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific companies with little tolerance for disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware viruses. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturing business located in Chicago with about 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had brought down all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's data protection had been online at the start of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom (exceeding $200K) and praying for good luck, but in the end engaged Progent.
"I can't thank you enough in regards to the support Progent provided us throughout the most fearful period of (our) company's survival. We had little choice but to pay the criminal gangs if not for the confidence the Progent group provided us. That you could get our e-mail system and production servers back sooner than seven days was incredible. Each expert I talked with or communicated with at Progent was hell bent on getting our company operational and was working day and night to bail us out."
Progent worked together with the client to rapidly assess and prioritize the most important systems that needed to be recovered in order to restart departmental functions:
To start, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes event mitigation industry best practices by halting lateral movement and disinfecting systems. Progent then began the work of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise networks built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not work without Windows AD, and the businesses' accounting and MRP software leveraged SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for authentication to the database.
- Active Directory
- Exchange Server
- MRP System
In less than 2 days, Progent was able to recover Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then performed rebuilding and hard drive recovery on critical servers. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and attributes were usable, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find non-encrypted OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on various workstations to recover email messages. A recent offline backup of the client's manufacturing software made them able to return these vital programs back servicing users. Although significant work was left to recover fully from the Ryuk damage, essential services were returned to operations quickly:
"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation was never shut down and we produced all customer shipments."
Over the next few weeks important milestones in the recovery project were achieved through close cooperation between Progent team members and the client:
- Self-hosted web sites were returned to operation with no loss of information.
- The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than four million archived messages was restored to operations and accessible to users.
- CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables/Inventory capabilities were completely recovered.
- A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was brought on-line.
- Nearly all of the user PCs were back into operation.
"Much of what transpired those first few days is mostly a haze for me, but I will not forget the urgency all of your team put in to give us our company back. I have utilized Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has shined and delivered. This time was a Herculean accomplishment."
A likely business-ending catastrophe was averted by dedicated experts, a broad array of knowledge, and tight teamwork. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus incident detailed here could have been disabled with up-to-date cyber security solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and appropriate incident response procedures for data protection and proper patching controls, the fact is that state-sponsored cyber criminals from China, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incident, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were involved), I'm grateful for allowing me to get some sleep after we got over the first week. Everyone did an impressive job, and if any of your team is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"
To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, click:
Progent's Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Phoenix a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize next-generation AI technology to uncover new variants of ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based anti-virus products.
For 24-7 Phoenix Ransomware Repair 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 service that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-matching AV tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to address the complete malware attack progression including blocking, identification, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer affordable in-depth security for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alerts, device control, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your company's unique needs and that helps you prove compliance with government and industry data security standards. Progent will assist you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that call for immediate attention. 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 destructive security attack such as ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has partnered with leading backup technology providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a family of subscription-based management offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services automate and monitor your data backup processes and enable transparent backup and fast recovery of important files, apps, images, plus VMs. ProSight DPS helps you avoid data loss resulting from equipment breakdown, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, human error, malicious insiders, or software glitches. Managed services in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can assist you to identify which of these fully managed services are best suited 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 and email encryption service that uses the infrastructure of top information security companies to provide web-based control and comprehensive protection for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local gateway appliance to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of threats from making it to your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to inbound threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway appliance provides a further level of analysis for incoming email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email traffic that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more details, visit ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized organizations to diagram, track, enhance and troubleshoot their networking hardware such as routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, endpoints and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network maps are kept current, copies and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and sends alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating tedious management activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary tasks like making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding appliances that require critical updates, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure management consulting.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
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 IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the health of vital assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your designated IT staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that all looming issues can be resolved before they have a chance to impact productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Because the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hardware environment without a lengthy and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into a single hosting provider. Learn more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.
- ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, find and protect information about your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time wasted searching for critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for gathering and relating IT information. Whether you're making improvements, doing regular maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need the instant you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Progent Active Defense 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 analysis tools to guard endpoints as well as physical and virtual servers against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to manage the entire malware attack lifecycle including blocking, detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.
- Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Center: Help Desk Managed Services
Progent's Support Center managed services permit your IT group to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal network support staff and Progent's nationwide pool of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service provides a seamless extension of your internal support resources. Client access to the Service Desk, provision of support services, issue escalation, trouble ticket generation and updates, performance measurement, and management of the service database are consistent regardless of whether incidents are taken care of by your corporate network support organization, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/shared Call Center services.
- Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
Progent's managed services for patch management offer businesses of all sizes a flexible and cost-effective alternative for assessing, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your ever-evolving IT network. Besides optimizing the security and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your IT team to concentrate on more strategic projects and tasks that deliver the highest business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
Progent's Duo authentication services utilize Cisco's Duo technology to protect against password theft through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables single-tap identity verification on iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, when you sign into a protected application and enter your password you are asked 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 used for this second means of authentication such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register multiple verification devices. For more information about Duo identity validation services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.
- ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
ProSight Reporting is an expanding suite of in-depth reporting tools designed to work with the leading ticketing and remote 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 critical issues such as spotty support follow-up or machines with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances productivity, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For more information, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.