Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsCrypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an attack. Different versions of ransomware such as Reveton, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for years and still inflict damage. The latest variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, along with additional unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line files but also infiltrate all configured system backups. Data replicated to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a vulnerable environment, it can render automatic recovery hopeless and effectively knocks the network back to square one.

Recovering services and data following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted business struggles to contain the damage and cleanup the ransomware and to restore mission-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware takes time to spread, assaults are usually launched during nights and weekends, when successful attacks may take longer to discover. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly assembling and coordinating a qualified response team.

Progent has a variety of solutions for protecting enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are team 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 solutions with artificial intelligence technology from SentinelOne to detect and disable zero-day cyber threats automatically. Progent in addition provides the assistance of expert ransomware recovery consultants with the skills and perseverance to rebuild a compromised system as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
After a ransomware event, sending the ransom in cryptocurrency does not ensure that cyber hackers will respond with the needed codes to decrypt all your information. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly above the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the key components of your Information Technology environment. Without access to essential data backups, this calls for a broad range of IT skills, professional project management, and the ability to work continuously until the job is finished.

For two decades, Progent has provided expert IT services for companies in Salt Lake City and across the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have earned advanced certifications in key technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security consultants have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise gives Progent the ability to quickly understand important 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 ransomware group utilizes best of breed project management systems to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of acting rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology team members to prioritize tasks and to put critical services back on-line as fast as humanly possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Incident Recovery
A business contacted Progent after their network system was crashed by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is generally considered to have been deployed by Northern Korean state sponsored hackers, suspected of using approaches exposed from America's NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific businesses with little room for disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing company located in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 employees. The Ryuk intrusion had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's backups had been on-line at the start of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom (more than $200,000) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end called Progent.


"I can't thank you enough in regards to the expertise Progent provided us throughout the most fearful period of (our) businesses survival. We would have paid the criminal gangs if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent team gave us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and important applications back online quicker than 1 week was amazing. Every single expert I spoke to or texted at Progent was hell bent on getting us operational and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly assess and assign priority to the key elements that needed to be recovered in order to resume company functions:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • MRP System
To get going, Progent followed Anti-virus incident mitigation best practices by stopping lateral movement and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then began the task of recovering Microsoft AD, the key technology of enterprise networks built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not function without AD, and the client's MRP applications utilized Microsoft SQL, which needs Active Directory for access to the databases.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then accomplished reinstallations and hard drive recovery on the most important servers. All Microsoft Exchange Server data and configuration information were intact, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to find non-encrypted OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on user PCs and laptops to recover email messages. A recent off-line backup of the businesses manufacturing software made them able to restore these vital services back online for users. Although significant work still had to be done to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, critical services were restored rapidly:


"For the most part, the production operation survived unscathed and we made all customer sales."

During the next couple of weeks critical milestones in the restoration project were made through close cooperation between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web applications were restored without losing any data.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and available for users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory functions were 100 percent restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was brought on-line.
  • Most of the user desktops and notebooks were fully operational.

"Much of what went on those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but our team will not soon forget the countless hours all of your team put in to give us our company back. I've utilized Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This time was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A possible business disaster was evaded due to results-oriented experts, a wide range of IT skills, and close collaboration. Although in post mortem the ransomware virus incident detailed here would have been identified and stopped with up-to-date cyber security solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and properly executed security procedures for information backup and proper patching controls, the fact remains that state-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are not going away. If you do get hit by a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), thanks very much for letting me get some sleep after we got past the initial push. Everyone did an impressive job, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"

To read or download a PDF version of this customer story, click:
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Salt Lake City a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence capability to uncover zero-day variants of ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based machine learning tools to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape legacy signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight ASM safeguards local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire malware attack progression including protection, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Top features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services deliver affordable in-depth security for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent managed from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist you to plan and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry data protection standards. Progent will help you specify and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require immediate action. Progent can also assist you to set up and verify a backup and disaster recovery system like ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive cyber attack such as ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup/restore software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of management outsourcing plans that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and track your data backup processes and enable transparent backup and fast recovery of vital files, applications, images, and VMs. ProSight DPS helps you avoid data loss caused by equipment breakdown, natural disasters, fire, malware like ransomware, user error, malicious insiders, or application bugs. Managed services in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can assist you to determine 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 and virus filtering service that incorporates the technology of top information security companies to deliver centralized control and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Email Guard managed service integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway appliance to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-borne threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks most threats from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to inbound attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance provides a further layer of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the on-premises gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The local gateway can also assist Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to diagram, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances such as routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always current, captures and manages the configuration of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when issues are detected. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating devices that require critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch network 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 incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your IT system running at peak levels by tracking the health of critical computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted immediately to your specified IT staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that all potential issues can be resolved before they have a chance to impact productivity. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's network support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hosting solution without requiring a lengthy and difficult reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting service. Find out more details 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 capture, maintain, retrieve and protect data about your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your network documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time thrown away trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized location for holding and sharing all documents related to managing your business network like standard operating procedures (SOPs) 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 improvements, performing maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need when you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection managed service that utilizes next generation behavior-based machine learning technology to guard endpoint devices as well as physical and virtual servers against modern malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-matching anti-virus products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to manage the entire malware attack lifecycle including blocking, identification, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Center: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Center managed services allow your IT staff to outsource Call Center services to Progent or split responsibilities for Help Desk services seamlessly between your internal support team and Progent's nationwide pool of certified IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Service Desk provides a seamless extension of your core IT support resources. User interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of technical assistance, escalation, trouble ticket generation and updates, performance measurement, and maintenance of the service database are consistent regardless of whether issues are taken care of by your internal IT support group, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management offer organizations of all sizes a versatile and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, testing, scheduling, applying, and documenting updates to your dynamic IT network. Besides maximizing the security and functionality of your IT network, Progent's patch management services permit your IT team to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and activities that deliver the highest business value from your network. Read more about Progent's patch management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against compromised passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification on iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. With Duo 2FA, when you log into a secured online account and give your password you are asked to confirm who you are on a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide selection of devices can be utilized as this second means of authentication including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register multiple verification devices. For details about ProSight Duo two-factor identity validation services, visit Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
    ProSight Reporting is a growing suite of real-time and in-depth reporting tools designed to work with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring programs such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to surface and contextualize critical issues such as spotty support follow-up or endpoints with out-of-date AVs. By identifying ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For 24/7/365 Salt Lake City Crypto-Ransomware Remediation Consulting, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.