Ransomware : Your Feared IT Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ProfessionalsRansomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for organizations poorly prepared for an attack. Multiple generations of crypto-ransomware like the Dharma, Fusob, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and continue to inflict destruction. More recent strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, plus daily as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line files but also infiltrate any available system protection mechanisms. Data synched to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a vulnerable environment, it can render any recovery impossible and basically sets the entire system back to square one.

Getting back on-line services and data after a ransomware outage becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted business fights to contain and remove the virus and to restore enterprise-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware takes time to move laterally, assaults are frequently sprung during weekends and nights, when penetrations typically take more time to notice. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly assembling and organizing a knowledgeable response team.

Progent makes available an assortment of help services for securing organizations from ransomware events. Among these are staff training to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to setup and configuration of the latest generation security appliances with AI capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and disable day-zero cyber threats quickly. Progent in addition can provide the services of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery engineers with the track record and commitment to re-deploy a compromised environment as soon as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Services
Following a ransomware attack, paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber criminals will return the needed keys to decrypt any or all of your files. Kaspersky determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their files after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the essential parts of your IT environment. Absent access to essential information backups, this requires a wide range of IT skills, top notch team management, and the capability to work continuously until the job is completed.

For twenty years, Progent has made available certified expert Information Technology services for businesses in Richmond and throughout the U.S. 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 high-level industry certifications in leading technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security specialists have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in accounting and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to efficiently ascertain critical systems and consolidate the remaining components of your Information Technology system following a crypto-ransomware penetration and assemble them into a functioning network.

Progent's security team of experts has top notch project management tools to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working quickly and together with a client's management and IT staff to assign priority to tasks and to get the most important services back on line as fast as humanly possible.

Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Attack Response
A customer escalated to Progent after their company was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been launched by Northern Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of using technology exposed from America's NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific organizations with limited ability to sustain disruption and is among the most profitable versions of ransomware. High publicized victims include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a regional manufacturer located in Chicago and has around 500 staff members. The Ryuk attack had disabled all business operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data protection had been directly accessible at the beginning of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and praying for the best, but ultimately utilized Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough about the help Progent provided us throughout the most critical period of (our) businesses existence. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack except for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail system and critical servers back into operation in less than a week was amazing. Every single person I talked with or e-mailed at Progent was hell bent on getting our company operational and was working day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to rapidly identify and prioritize the essential areas that had to be addressed in order to continue business functions:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Financials/MRP
To get going, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes incident mitigation industry best practices by stopping the spread and disinfecting systems. Progent then started the task of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not operate without Windows AD, and the client's MRP system utilized SQL Server, which needs Active Directory for security authorization to the information.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then charged ahead with rebuilding and storage recovery of essential applications. All Microsoft Exchange Server schema and attributes were intact, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to find local OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on user PCs in order to recover email information. A recent offline backup of the businesses accounting/MRP software made them able to return these vital applications back online. Although significant work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk event, critical services were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation survived unscathed and we did not miss any customer deliverables."

Throughout the following few weeks key milestones in the recovery project were made through tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the client:

  • In-house web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over 4 million historical emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory functions were completely functional.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • Most of the desktop computers were being used by staff.

"A lot of what went on those first few days is mostly a blur for me, but I will not forget the countless hours each of you put in to help get our company back. I have trusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This event was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A potential business-ending disaster was evaded due to results-oriented experts, a wide spectrum of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware virus incident described here should have been identified and stopped with current security technology solutions and best practices, user training, and well thought out incident response procedures for data backup and proper patching controls, the reality is that state-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and will continue. If you do get hit by a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (and any others that were helping), thanks very much for allowing me to get rested after we made it past the first week. Everyone did an impressive job, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

To review or download a PDF version of this ransomware incident report, please click:
Progent's Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Richmond a portfolio of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate modern artificial intelligence capability to uncover new strains of ransomware that are able to escape detection by traditional signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by traditional signature-matching AV products. ProSight ASM protects local and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including blocking, detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver economical in-depth protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alarms, endpoint management, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a unified console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's unique requirements and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data protection regulations. Progent will help you define and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require immediate action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and test a backup and restore solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a selection of subscription-based management outsourcing plans that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products automate and track your backup operations and enable non-disruptive backup and rapid restoration of important files/folders, apps, images, and Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps you recover from data loss caused by hardware breakdown, natural disasters, fire, malware such as ransomware, human error, ill-intentioned employees, or software glitches. Managed backup services available in the ProSight DPS product family 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 MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can help you to identify which of these fully managed 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 filtering service that uses the infrastructure of leading data security companies to provide centralized management and comprehensive security for your email traffic. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway appliance to provide advanced defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne threats. The Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound threats and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance adds a further layer of analysis for incoming email. For outbound email, the local security gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more information, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller organizations to diagram, monitor, reconfigure and debug their connectivity hardware such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology maps are kept updated, captures and displays the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates notices when issues are detected. By automating complex management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that need critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the state of vital computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your specified IT management personnel and your Progent consultant so that any potential issues can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Find out 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 key servers and apps hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual host configured and managed by Progent's IT support experts. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting environment without requiring a lengthy and difficult configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied 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 a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to create, update, retrieve and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate up to half of time thrown away looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your business network like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for collecting and relating IT information. Whether you're making improvements, performing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need as soon as you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Detection and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that utilizes cutting edge behavior machine learning tools to guard endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-based AV tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to manage the complete threat progression including protection, infiltration detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Desk services enable your information technology group to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or divide responsibilities for Service Desk support transparently between your in-house support resources and Progent's nationwide pool of IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Service Desk provides a seamless extension of your corporate support resources. End user interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of technical assistance, problem escalation, trouble ticket generation and updates, performance metrics, and management of the support database are cohesive regardless of whether issues are taken care of by your in-house network support resources, by Progent, or by a combination. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Service Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and affordable alternative for evaluating, testing, scheduling, applying, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic information system. Besides maximizing the security and functionality of your computer network, Progent's patch management services free up time for your IT staff to focus on line-of-business initiatives and tasks that derive the highest business value from your information network. Find out more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity confirmation with Apple iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a secured online account and give your password you are requested to verify who you are via a device that only you have and that uses a separate network channel. A broad selection of devices can be used for this added form of ID validation such as a smartphone or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can register multiple validation devices. To find out more about Duo identity validation services, refer to Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.
For 24x7x365 Richmond CryptoLocker Repair Help, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.