Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that presents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an assault. Multiple generations of crypto-ransomware such as CryptoLocker, Fusob, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for years and still cause destruction. The latest versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, plus daily unnamed viruses, not only encrypt on-line data but also infect all available system backups. Data replicated to the cloud can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed system, this can make automated recovery hopeless and basically knocks the network back to square one.
Getting back on-line services and data following a crypto-ransomware outage becomes a sprint against time as the targeted business struggles to stop lateral movement and clear the virus and to restore enterprise-critical operations. Since ransomware takes time to move laterally, attacks are usually sprung on weekends and holidays, when penetrations in many cases take longer to identify. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and organizing a knowledgeable response team.
Progent makes available a range of services for securing enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are team member training to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with setup and configuration of next-generation security gateways with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to identify and extinguish day-zero cyber threats intelligently. Progent also offers the services of experienced ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and commitment to re-deploy a compromised environment as quickly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Subsequent to a ransomware attack, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will respond with the needed keys to decrypt any of your data. Kaspersky determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently 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 approximately $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the vital components of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of full data backups, this requires a broad complement of IT skills, professional team management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the recovery project is done.
For decades, Progent has provided expert Information Technology services for companies in Raleigh and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes professionals who have attained high-level industry certifications in important technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in accounting and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience affords Progent the ability to knowledgably determine important systems and integrate the remaining pieces of your network system following a crypto-ransomware attack and configure them into an operational network.
Progent's security team utilizes top notch project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent knows the importance of working swiftly and together with a customer's management and Information Technology resources to prioritize tasks and to put key applications back on-line as soon as humanly possible.
Customer Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Restoration
A client hired Progent after their network system was penetrated by the Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by North Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using technology exposed from America's National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific businesses with limited room for operational disruption and is among the most profitable incarnations of ransomware malware. Major victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturing business based in Chicago and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had shut down all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's system backups had been on-line at the beginning of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom demand (more than $200K) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately reached out to Progent.
"I cannot speak enough in regards to the help Progent provided us throughout the most critical time of (our) company's survival. We most likely would have paid the hackers behind this attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent group provided us. The fact that you were able to get our messaging and production servers back on-line in less than 1 week was incredible. Every single person I got help from or e-mailed at Progent was laser focused on getting us restored and was working non-stop to bail us out."
Progent worked together with the client to rapidly determine and assign priority to the critical services that needed to be restored to make it possible to restart departmental functions:
To get going, Progent followed ransomware incident response industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then started the steps of rebuilding Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without AD, and the client's accounting and MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for authentication to the data.
- Active Directory
- Microsoft Exchange
- MRP System
In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then performed reinstallations and storage recovery of needed applications. All Exchange ties and configuration information were intact, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to locate local OST files (Outlook Email Offline Data Files) on various desktop computers to recover email data. A not too old off-line backup of the customer's accounting/MRP software made them able to return these vital applications back on-line. Although a large amount of work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk damage, essential services were returned to operations quickly:
"For the most part, the production line operation survived unscathed and we produced all customer orders."
Throughout the following month key milestones in the restoration project were made in close collaboration between Progent team members and the customer:
- Internal web applications were restored without losing any data.
- The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over four million historical emails was brought on-line and accessible to users.
- CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory modules were fully operational.
- A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought on-line.
- 90% of the user desktops were functioning as before the incident.
"A lot of what occurred in the initial days is mostly a haze for me, but our team will not soon forget the care all of the team put in to help get our business back. I've been working together with Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and each time Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This time was the most impressive ever."
A potential enterprise-killing catastrophe was averted with hard-working professionals, a broad array of technical expertise, and tight teamwork. Although in retrospect the ransomware virus attack detailed here could have been disabled with advanced security systems and recognized best practices, team education, and appropriate security procedures for information backup and proper patching controls, the fact remains that state-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, removal, and data restoration.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were helping), thanks very much for allowing me to get rested after we got over the most critical parts. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"
To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, please click:
Progent's Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Raleigh a portfolio of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include next-generation machine learning technology to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based anti-virus products.
For 24/7 Raleigh Crypto Remediation Experts, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-matching AV tools. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to manage the complete threat progression including filtering, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service 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) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver affordable multi-layer protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and responding to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, penetration alarms, device management, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist you to plan and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your organization's specific requirements and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry information security regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to install and verify a backup and restore system like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
Progent has partnered with advanced backup technology providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of subscription-based offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your data backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of critical files, applications, system images, plus virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets your business recover from data loss caused by equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, user mistakes, malicious employees, or application bugs. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can help you to determine which of these 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 and email encryption service that uses the infrastructure of top data security companies to deliver web-based management and world-class security for your inbound and outbound email. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with a local security gateway device to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-based threats. The Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to external threats and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance adds a further layer of inspection for incoming email. For outbound email, the on-premises security gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and protect internal email that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more information, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller businesses to diagram, monitor, reconfigure and debug their networking hardware like switches, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, printers, client computers and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, copies and manages the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when potential issues are discovered. By automating complex network management activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that need critical updates, or isolating performance problems. Find out more details 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 remote monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your network running at peak levels by checking the state of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is transmitted immediately to your specified IT staff and your Progent engineering consultant so any looming problems can be addressed before they can impact productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its key servers and apps hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a fast virtual host set up and managed by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to an alternate hosting environment without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting provider. Find out 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 makes it easy to create, maintain, retrieve and protect data related to your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or IP addresses and be alerted automatically about impending expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time spent searching for critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized repository for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports advanced automation for gathering and associating IT information. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need as soon as you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Active Defense Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that incorporates next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard endpoints and physical and virtual servers against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by traditional signature-matching AV tools. Progent ASM services safeguard local and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to address the entire malware attack progression including protection, detection, containment, remediation, and forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Learn more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.
- Outsourced/Co-managed Help Center: Support Desk Managed Services
Progent's Support Desk services allow your information technology staff to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or split responsibilities for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support staff and Progent's extensive roster of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service offers a smooth supplement to your core IT support staff. Client interaction with the Help Desk, delivery of support, problem escalation, ticket creation and updates, performance measurement, and management of the support database are consistent whether incidents are resolved by your corporate IT 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: Patch Management Services
Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of all sizes a flexible and affordable alternative for assessing, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your dynamic information network. In addition to maximizing the security and functionality of your computer environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services permit your IT team to focus on line-of-business projects and activities that derive maximum business value from your network. Read more about Progent's patch management services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on
Progent's Duo authentication managed services utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity verification with iOS, Google Android, and other personal devices. With Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a protected application and enter your password you are requested to verify your identity on a unit that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A broad range of out-of-band devices can be used as this added form of ID validation such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You can designate multiple validation devices. To find out more about ProSight Duo two-factor identity validation services, go to Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.
- ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
ProSight Reporting is an expanding suite of real-time and in-depth management reporting tools created to work with the industry's leading ticketing and remote network monitoring programs such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize key issues such as inconsistent support follow-through or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health problems clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For details, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.