Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Catastrophe
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that presents an extinction-level danger for organizations poorly prepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware such as Dharma, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for a long time and continue to cause harm. Recent variants of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Nephilim, as well as additional as yet unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online files but also infiltrate all accessible system backups. Information synched to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed data protection solution, it can render automated restoration impossible and effectively knocks the datacenter back to zero.

Retrieving services and information following a ransomware event becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted business fights to contain and remove the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical operations. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware needs time to spread, penetrations are often launched at night, when attacks may take more time to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and orchestrating a qualified mitigation team.

Progent provides a range of services for securing enterprises from ransomware attacks. These include team member education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of the latest generation security gateways with AI technology from SentinelOne to detect and disable new cyber attacks intelligently. Progent in addition provides the assistance of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and commitment to rebuild a breached network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Services
After a crypto-ransomware event, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not ensure that criminal gangs will respond with the needed codes to unencrypt any of your information. Kaspersky Labs estimated that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their data after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be approximately $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the mission-critical components of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of essential system backups, this calls for a broad range of skill sets, professional project management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the job is over.

For decades, Progent has made available certified expert IT services for companies in Vacaville and across the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have earned top certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's security consultants have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISA, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with accounting and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the ability to knowledgably ascertain necessary systems and integrate the surviving parts of your network system after a ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's ransomware group deploys state-of-the-art project management tools to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent appreciates the importance of acting swiftly and together with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to put the most important systems back on-line as soon as humanly possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Response
A client contacted Progent after their company was attacked by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by North Korean state cybercriminals, possibly adopting techniques leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific companies with little tolerance for disruption and is among the most profitable examples of ransomware viruses. Well Known victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing company headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's backups had been directly accessible at the time of the attack and were destroyed. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately utilized Progent.


"I can't say enough about the help Progent gave us during the most fearful time of (our) company's survival. We had little choice but to pay the cybercriminals except for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. That you were able to get our e-mail system and production applications back into operation faster than seven days was something I thought impossible. Each expert I talked with or e-mailed at Progent was amazingly focused on getting my company operational and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."

Progent worked with the customer to rapidly assess and assign priority to the most important elements that had to be addressed to make it possible to resume company operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Exchange Server
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To begin, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes penetration response industry best practices by stopping the spread and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then began the process of rebuilding Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Exchange email will not operate without Windows AD, and the client's MRP applications utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which needs Active Directory for authentication to the information.

In less than two days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then accomplished rebuilding and storage recovery of the most important applications. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to collect non-encrypted OST files (Outlook Email Offline Folder Files) on team PCs and laptops in order to recover mail messages. A not too old offline backup of the client's manufacturing software made them able to return these vital programs back online for users. Although significant work remained to recover completely from the Ryuk event, core systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the manufacturing operation survived unscathed and we did not miss any customer sales."

Over the following few weeks key milestones in the restoration process were achieved through close collaboration between Progent team members and the customer:

  • Internal web sites were returned to operation without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over 4 million archived messages was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/AP/AR/Inventory modules were 100 percent recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was installed and configured.
  • Nearly all of the user desktops were operational.

"A lot of what happened during the initial response is mostly a fog for me, but my team will not soon forget the care each of you accomplished to help get our company back. I have entrusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This event was a Herculean accomplishment."

Conclusion
A possible business-ending disaster was averted due to hard-working experts, a broad range of technical expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in retrospect the ransomware virus attack described here would have been prevented with modern cyber security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, staff training, and properly executed security procedures for data protection and proper patching controls, the fact is that state-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were involved), thanks very much for allowing me to get some sleep after we made it past the initial fire. Everyone did an amazing effort, and if anyone is in the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, please click:
Progent's Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers businesses in Vacaville a range of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services utilize modern AI capability to uncover new variants of ransomware that are able to evade legacy signature-based security products.

  • 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 machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape legacy signature-matching AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards local and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to address the complete malware attack progression including filtering, detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and automatic network-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver ultra-affordable in-depth protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and reacting to security assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device management, and web filtering via cutting-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can assist you to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your organization's unique requirements and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data security regulations. Progent will assist you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alerts that require immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also help you to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup technology companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of management offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products manage and track your data backup processes and allow transparent backup and fast recovery of vital files/folders, apps, system images, plus virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business protect against data loss caused by equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, human error, malicious employees, or software glitches. Managed backup 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 MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can assist you to determine which of these fully managed backup 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 uses the infrastructure of leading information security vendors to deliver web-based management and comprehensive protection for your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Email Guard combines cloud-based filtering with a local gateway device 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 filter acts as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to inbound attacks and conserves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device provides a further level of analysis for incoming email. For outgoing email, the onsite security gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that stays within your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map, track, optimize and debug their connectivity appliances like routers and switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, client computers and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are always current, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when potential issues are detected. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that require important software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your network operating at peak levels by checking the state of vital assets that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is transmitted immediately to your designated IT staff and your Progent engineering consultant so that all potential issues can be addressed before they have a chance to impact your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and managed by Progent's IT support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the OS software, and the applications. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hardware solution without a time-consuming and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting provider. Find out more details 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, update, retrieve and safeguard information related to your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time wasted looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your business network like recommended procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT information. Whether you're planning improvements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need the instant you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard endpoints as well as servers and VMs against new malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade traditional signature-based AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to automate the entire malware attack lifecycle including filtering, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Service Desk: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Call Desk managed services enable your information technology staff to offload Help Desk services to Progent or divide activity for Help Desk services seamlessly between your internal network support team and Progent's extensive roster of certified IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Service Desk provides a smooth supplement to your in-house network support resources. User interaction with the Help Desk, provision of technical assistance, issue escalation, ticket generation and updates, efficiency metrics, and maintenance of the support database are consistent whether issues are resolved by your internal support group, by Progent's team, or both. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective alternative for assessing, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic IT network. Besides maximizing the protection and functionality of your computer network, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your in-house IT staff to focus on line-of-business projects and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA services utilize Cisco's Duo technology to protect against password theft by using two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification on iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. Using 2FA, whenever you sign into a secured application and give your password you are asked to confirm your identity via a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide range of out-of-band devices can be utilized for this second form of authentication such as an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You can register multiple validation devices. To learn more about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, refer to Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing family of real-time and in-depth reporting plug-ins created to integrate with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring applications including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues such as spotty support follow-up or machines with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health problems concisely 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 platforms.
For Vacaville 24/7/365 Ransomware Cleanup Help, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.