Crypto-Ransomware : Your Worst IT Catastrophe
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that poses an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, Fusob, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and still inflict destruction. Modern versions of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, as well as additional unnamed malware, not only do encryption of online information but also infiltrate many configured system protection mechanisms. Files replicated to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly architected environment, it can render automatic restore operations hopeless and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.

Getting back on-line applications and information after a crypto-ransomware event becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization fights to contain the damage and clear the ransomware and to resume business-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware needs time to move laterally, assaults are often launched on weekends, when successful penetrations may take longer to discover. This compounds the difficulty of promptly assembling and coordinating a qualified mitigation team.

Progent offers a range of solutions for securing enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are team training to help identify and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with installation of next-generation security appliances with artificial intelligence technology from SentinelOne to discover and extinguish new threats quickly. Progent also provides the assistance of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and perseverance to restore a compromised environment as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Soon after a ransomware attack, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will return the codes to unencrypt all your files. Kaspersky Labs determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their files even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The other path is to piece back together the critical parts of your IT environment. Without the availability of essential data backups, this calls for a broad range of skill sets, well-coordinated team management, and the ability to work continuously until the recovery project is done.

For decades, Progent has provided certified expert IT services for businesses in Raleigh and throughout the US and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes engineers who have earned high-level certifications in key technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's security specialists have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience affords Progent the skills to quickly determine necessary systems and organize the surviving components of your Information Technology environment after a crypto-ransomware attack and rebuild them into an operational network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts deploys state-of-the-art project management systems to orchestrate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent understands the importance of working rapidly and together with a customer's management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to put key systems back online as soon as humanly possible.

Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Response
A business contacted Progent after their organization was taken over by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been launched by North Korean state sponsored criminal gangs, possibly using strategies exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with little or no ability to sustain disruption and is among the most profitable incarnations of ransomware. High publicized victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing company based in Chicago with around 500 employees. The Ryuk event had brought down all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's data backups had been on-line at the start of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom demand (more than $200,000) and praying for good luck, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I cannot say enough in regards to the support Progent gave us during the most fearful period of (our) businesses life. We had little choice but to pay the Hackers if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent team afforded us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail and important servers back sooner than a week was amazing. Every single expert I spoke to or communicated with at Progent was laser focused on getting us working again and was working 24/7 to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to quickly identify and assign priority to the mission critical areas that had to be restored to make it possible to restart business operations:

  • Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus event response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and removing active viruses. Progent then initiated the process of rebuilding Windows Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Active Directory, and the client's accounting and MRP applications leveraged SQL Server, which needs Active Directory services for authentication to the databases.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to restore Active Directory services to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then accomplished reinstallations and hard drive recovery on mission critical applications. All Exchange data and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to collect local OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on staff workstations and laptops in order to recover mail messages. A recent offline backup of the businesses accounting systems made them able to recover these essential applications back on-line. Although significant work needed to be completed to recover completely from the Ryuk event, the most important services were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation showed little impact and we delivered all customer sales."

Over the next couple of weeks important milestones in the recovery project were completed in close cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • Internal web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control modules were 100 percent operational.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed and configured.
  • Ninety percent of the user workstations were fully operational.

"So much of what occurred those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but we will not soon forget the care all of you accomplished to help get our business back. I have trusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered. This event was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A likely business-killing disaster was evaded due to results-oriented professionals, a broad array of knowledge, and close collaboration. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus attack described here could have been identified and blocked with modern security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, user and IT administrator education, and appropriate incident response procedures for information backup and applying software patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do get hit by a ransomware attack, remember that Progent's roster of professionals has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and file disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others who were contributing), thanks very much for letting me get rested after we made it over the initial fire. Everyone did an incredible effort, and if any of your guys is in the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

To review or download a PDF version of this customer story, click:
Progent's Ryuk Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Raleigh a variety of remote monitoring and security assessment services to help you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services utilize next-generation artificial intelligence technology to uncover zero-day variants of ransomware that can get past traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to address the entire threat progression including protection, 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 threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services deliver ultra-affordable in-depth security for physical and virtual servers, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, endpoint control, and web filtering via cutting-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help you to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's specific needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry data security standards. Progent will assist you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that call for urgent attention. Progent can also help your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery system like 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 endpoint security and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a selection of subscription-based offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your backup operations and allow transparent backup and fast restoration of important files, apps, images, plus VMs. ProSight DPS helps you avoid data loss resulting from hardware breakdown, natural disasters, fire, malware like ransomware, human mistakes, ill-intentioned insiders, or software glitches. Managed services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product family include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these fully managed backup 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 and email encryption service that incorporates the technology of top information security vendors to deliver centralized management and comprehensive security for your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway appliance to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves 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 conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway appliance adds a deeper level of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the local security gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that originates and ends inside your security perimeter. For more details, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map, monitor, enhance and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware like switches, firewalls, and access points plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are kept updated, captures and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when problems are detected. By automating complex network management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common chores like making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that need important software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management techniques to help keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the state of vital assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is transmitted automatically to your designated IT personnel and your Progent consultant so that all potential problems can be addressed before they can 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 business can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS software, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware environment without requiring a time-consuming and difficult reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied a single hosting service. 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 protect data related to your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned about impending expirations of SSLs or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT documentation, you can eliminate up to half of time wasted searching for critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized location for holding and collaborating on all documents required for managing your business network like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether you're planning improvements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you require the instant you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates next generation behavior analysis tools to defend endpoint devices and physical and virtual servers against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape legacy signature-matching AV products. Progent ASM services protect on-premises and cloud resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire malware attack lifecycle including filtering, identification, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against new attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Center: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Desk services permit your information technology team to offload Call Center services to Progent or split responsibilities for support services transparently between your in-house network support team and Progent's extensive pool of IT support engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Help Desk Service offers a smooth supplement to your corporate network support resources. Client interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of support, problem escalation, ticket generation and updates, performance measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive regardless of whether incidents are taken care of by your corporate support resources, by Progent, or by a combination. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Help Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management offer businesses of all sizes a versatile and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting updates to your ever-evolving information system. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your IT network, Progent's patch management services permit your IT team to concentrate on more strategic projects and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables single-tap identity verification with Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. With 2FA, when you sign into a secured online account and enter your password you are asked to verify who you are via a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A wide selection of devices can be utilized for this second form of authentication including a smartphone or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You may register several validation devices. To find out more about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, visit Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.

  • ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing line of real-time and in-depth reporting utilities created to work with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring applications such as 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 inconsistent support follow-through or endpoints with out-of-date AVs. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For Raleigh 24-7 Crypto Removal Experts, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.