Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an enterprise-level danger for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an assault. Multiple generations of ransomware like the CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for a long time and continue to cause damage. Modern variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Snatch or Nephilim, plus frequent as yet unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt online files but also infiltrate any available system restores and backups. Data replicated to the cloud can also be rendered useless. In a poorly architected environment, this can make any restoration impossible and basically sets the entire system back to zero.

Recovering programs and information following a ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against time as the targeted business tries its best to stop the spread and cleanup the virus and to resume enterprise-critical operations. Due to the fact that ransomware needs time to replicate, assaults are often launched at night, when successful attacks typically take more time to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent provides an assortment of help services for securing businesses from ransomware attacks. Among these are staff training to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of modern security solutions with artificial intelligence capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and suppress new threats automatically. Progent also can provide the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the track record and commitment to reconstruct a compromised environment as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Soon after a ransomware event, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that merciless criminals will respond with the needed keys to decipher any or all of your information. Kaspersky Labs estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their data even after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the critical components of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of complete system backups, this requires a broad range of IT skills, professional project management, and the willingness to work continuously until the recovery project is over.

For decades, Progent has offered expert Information Technology services for businesses in Mission Viejo and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have earned top certifications in leading technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's security consultants have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise in financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the skills to rapidly identify critical systems and organize the surviving components of your computer network system after a crypto-ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's security team of experts deploys top notch project management systems to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of working swiftly and together with a customer's management and IT team members to prioritize tasks and to get essential services back online as soon as humanly possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery
A customer sought out Progent after their network was brought down by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by Northern Korean government sponsored hackers, suspected of adopting approaches leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific organizations with little or no tolerance for disruption and is among the most lucrative instances of crypto-ransomware. Major targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturer headquartered in the Chicago metro area with around 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had frozen all business operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's data protection had been directly accessible at the time of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (in excess of $200K) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end engaged Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the care Progent provided us during the most fearful time of (our) company's existence. We may have had to pay the cyber criminals behind the attack if not for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you were able to get our e-mail and essential applications back online quicker than seven days was amazing. Every single consultant I interacted with or communicated with at Progent was urgently focused on getting us working again and was working all day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly assess and assign priority to the essential systems that had to be recovered to make it possible to restart company operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Financials/MRP
To begin, Progent followed ransomware incident mitigation best practices by stopping lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then began the work of restoring Windows Active Directory, the heart of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft technology. Exchange email will not function without Windows AD, and the client's financials and MRP applications used Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory for authentication to the data.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Windows Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then assisted with rebuilding and hard drive recovery of mission critical applications. All Exchange schema and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to collect intact OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on user workstations and laptops to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the client's manufacturing software made them able to return these required services back online. Although a lot of work still had to be done to recover totally from the Ryuk event, essential services were returned to operations quickly:


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

During the following couple of weeks important milestones in the recovery process were achieved through tight cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than four million archived emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control capabilities were fully operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was installed and configured.
  • Ninety percent of the user PCs were back into operation.

"Much of what went on those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but our team will not forget the care all of you accomplished to help get our business back. I've trusted Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered. This event was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A probable enterprise-killing disaster was evaded with results-oriented experts, a wide spectrum of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware incident described here should have been identified and prevented with up-to-date cyber security solutions and best practices, staff training, and properly executed security procedures for data backup and applying software patches, the fact remains that government-sponsored hackers from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, remember that Progent's team of experts has extensive experience in crypto-ransomware virus defense, remediation, and data restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were involved), thank you for allowing me to get some sleep after we got through the first week. Everyone did an incredible job, and if anyone is in the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers businesses in Mission Viejo a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services include next-generation machine learning capability to detect new strains of ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior machine learning tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to automate the complete threat progression including blocking, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features 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 next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver affordable multi-layer security for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device control, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent accessible from a unified console. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can help your business to plan and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your company's specific requirements and that allows you prove compliance with government and industry data protection regulations. Progent will help you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require immediate action. Progent can also help you to set up and test a backup and restore solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of management offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services automate and monitor your backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and rapid restoration of critical files/folders, apps, images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business avoid data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural disasters, fire, malware such as ransomware, user mistakes, ill-intentioned employees, or application bugs. Managed backup services available in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to identify which of these managed services are best suited 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 and email encryption service that uses the infrastructure of top information security companies to deliver web-based control and world-class protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local security gateway appliance to provide complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's cloud filter serves as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of threats from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to external attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite security gateway device provides a deeper layer of analysis for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized organizations to map, track, enhance and troubleshoot their networking hardware like routers and switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, client computers and other networked devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are detected. By automating complex management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores like network mapping, expanding your network, locating devices that need important updates, or resolving performance problems. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your network running efficiently by tracking the health of critical computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alarm is sent automatically to your designated IT staff and your assigned Progent consultant so that all looming issues can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a secure fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host configured and managed by Progent's network support experts. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the applications. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hardware solution without requiring a lengthy and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied a single hosting provider. 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 related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly find 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 eliminate as much as 50% of time spent searching for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and relating IT information. Whether you're making improvements, doing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you require the instant you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to defend endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by legacy signature-based anti-virus tools. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including blocking, detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center services enable your IT team to offload Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support team and Progent's nationwide pool of IT support engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a seamless supplement to your corporate network support team. End user interaction with the Service Desk, provision of support services, problem escalation, trouble ticket creation and updates, efficiency measurement, and maintenance of the service database are cohesive whether incidents are taken care of by your in-house IT support staff, by Progent, or both. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Center services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management provide businesses of any size a flexible and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting updates to your dynamic IT network. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your computer network, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Find out more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA managed services utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification on iOS, Android, and other personal devices. With 2FA, whenever you log into a protected application and enter your password you are asked to confirm your identity on a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide selection of out-of-band devices can be used as this second means of ID validation including a smartphone or watch, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register multiple validation devices. To learn more about Duo identity authentication services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
    ProSight Reporting is a growing line of in-depth management reporting tools created to integrate with the industry's top ticketing and remote network monitoring applications including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to surface and contextualize key issues such as spotty support follow-up or machines with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves productivity, reduces management hassle, and saves money. For details, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For Mission Viejo 24x7x365 Ransomware Cleanup Consulting, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.