Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared IT Nightmare
Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an attack. Multiple generations of crypto-ransomware like the Reveton, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and still cause harm. Newer variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Nephilim, plus more unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt on-line files but also infiltrate many accessible system backup. Information synched to cloud environments can also be corrupted. In a poorly designed data protection solution, this can make any recovery hopeless and effectively knocks the entire system back to zero.

Retrieving applications and data following a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against time as the targeted business struggles to stop lateral movement and eradicate the ransomware and to resume business-critical activity. Because crypto-ransomware requires time to replicate, penetrations are frequently launched on weekends, when successful attacks in many cases take more time to detect. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly assembling and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent offers a range of help services for protecting organizations from crypto-ransomware events. Among these are user education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security gateways with artificial intelligence capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and disable zero-day cyber threats rapidly. Progent also can provide the assistance of experienced ransomware recovery consultants with the skills and commitment to rebuild a breached environment as quickly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services
After a ransomware penetration, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that criminal gangs will return the keys to decipher all your data. Kaspersky estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never recovered their data after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the average crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The alternative is to setup from scratch the key elements of your IT environment. Without the availability of full system backups, this calls for a wide range of skills, well-coordinated project management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the job is done.

For twenty years, Progent has provided certified expert Information Technology services for companies in Fort Wayne and across the US and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained top certifications in foundation technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity specialists have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise with financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of experience gives Progent the ability to efficiently determine important systems and consolidate the surviving components of your computer network environment following a ransomware attack and assemble them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery group utilizes top notch project management applications to orchestrate the complex recovery process. Progent understands the importance of working quickly and together with a customer�s management and IT team members to prioritize tasks and to get key applications back online as fast as possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Restoration
A business hired Progent after their network was taken over by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by Northern Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly using algorithms leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific companies with limited room for operational disruption and is among the most profitable examples of ransomware viruses. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a regional manufacturing company located in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 workers. The Ryuk event had frozen all company operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's system backups had been directly accessible at the start of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (in excess of $200K) and praying for the best, but in the end called Progent.


"I cannot speak enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) company�s existence. We most likely would have paid the criminal gangs if it wasn�t for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our messaging and critical applications back online in less than five days was amazing. Every single expert I got help from or communicated with at Progent was urgently focused on getting us back on-line and was working 24/7 on our behalf."

Progent worked with the customer to rapidly understand and prioritize the critical services that needed to be recovered to make it possible to resume company functions:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Email
  • MRP System
To begin, Progent followed Anti-virus incident response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then initiated the steps of rebuilding Microsoft AD, the foundation of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not work without Windows AD, and the businesses� accounting and MRP software utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for security authorization to the database.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery on essential applications. All Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to assemble non-encrypted OST files (Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on staff workstations and laptops in order to recover mail information. A recent off-line backup of the client's financials/MRP systems made it possible to return these essential programs back servicing users. Although major work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk damage, core services were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the production operation never missed a beat and we made all customer shipments."

During the next few weeks key milestones in the recovery project were accomplished through close collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web sites were brought back up without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory modules were fully operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was set up and programmed.
  • Most of the desktop computers were operational.

"A huge amount of what transpired during the initial response is nearly entirely a blur for me, but my team will not soon forget the commitment each and every one of your team put in to help get our business back. I�ve entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and every time Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This situation was a Herculean accomplishment."

Conclusion
A probable business-ending catastrophe was averted due to results-oriented professionals, a broad spectrum of knowledge, and close collaboration. Although in hindsight the crypto-ransomware penetration detailed here should have been identified and stopped with advanced cyber security technology and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, staff training, and appropriate security procedures for data protection and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and are an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (along with others who were involved), I�m grateful for making it so I could get some sleep after we made it over the initial push. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if any of your guys is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Fort Wayne a range of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to help you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence capability to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that can escape detection by traditional signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection solution that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire threat progression including filtering, identification, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a certified SentinelOne Partner. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services offer economical multi-layer security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, penetration alerts, endpoint control, and web filtering via cutting-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a single console. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's unique needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry information security regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that call for immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and verify a backup and disaster recovery system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover rapidly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a family of subscription-based management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your backup operations and enable transparent backup and rapid recovery of critical files/folders, apps, images, and virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you protect against data loss resulting from equipment breakdown, natural calamities, fire, malware like ransomware, human error, ill-intentioned employees, or application bugs. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight DPS Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Backup, ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent consultant can help you to identify 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 service that uses the technology of leading data security companies to provide web-based management and comprehensive protection for all your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Email Guard managed service combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway device to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. The cloud filter serves as a first line of defense and blocks most unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a deeper layer of inspection for incoming email. For outbound email, the local security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The local gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    Progents ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to diagram, track, reconfigure and debug their connectivity hardware such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are always current, captures and displays the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when issues are detected. By automating complex management and troubleshooting activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that require important updates, or resolving performance problems. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progents server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to keep your IT system running efficiently by tracking the state of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is sent immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so all looming problems can be addressed before they can disrupt productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a secure fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hosting environment without a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into one hosting provider. Find out more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that makes it easy to create, update, retrieve and safeguard data related to your network infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to 50% of time thrown away searching for vital information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for storing and collaborating on all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether youre planning improvements, performing regular maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you require the instant you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard endpoint devices as well as physical and virtual servers against new malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade traditional signature-matching AV products. Progent ASM services protect local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to manage the entire malware attack progression including filtering, detection, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Desk services permit your information technology team to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or divide activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your in-house support team and Progent's extensive pool of certified IT support engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a seamless extension of your corporate IT support group. Client interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of support services, issue escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, performance measurement, and management of the service database are cohesive regardless of whether incidents are taken care of by your in-house IT support staff, by Progent, or a mix of the two. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your dynamic information network. Besides optimizing the security and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services permit your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against password theft through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo supports one-tap identity confirmation with Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a secured online account and enter your password you are requested to verify your identity via a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide range of devices can be utilized for this second form of ID validation including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You can register several verification devices. For details about Duo identity authentication services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.
For Fort Wayne 24x7x365 Crypto Recovery Support Services, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.