Crypto-Ransomware : Your Worst IT Catastrophe
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that represents an enterprise-level danger for organizations unprepared for an attack. Versions of ransomware such as CrySIS, CryptoWall, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for many years and still cause destruction. More recent versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Nephilim, along with frequent unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online critical data but also infect any available system backups. Files synchronized to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a poorly architected data protection solution, this can make automated restoration useless and basically sets the network back to square one.

Getting back services and information after a ransomware outage becomes a race against the clock as the targeted organization tries its best to contain and remove the virus and to resume mission-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware needs time to move laterally, penetrations are usually sprung on weekends and holidays, when attacks tend to take more time to uncover. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly mobilizing and coordinating a capable response team.

Progent offers an assortment of help services for securing enterprises from ransomware events. Among these are team member training to help recognize and avoid phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of the latest generation security appliances with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to detect and suppress zero-day cyber threats quickly. Progent in addition provides the services of expert ransomware recovery consultants with the track record and perseverance to reconstruct a compromised system as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Subsequent to a ransomware event, sending the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not guarantee that merciless criminals will provide the needed keys to decipher any or all of your data. Kaspersky determined that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never recovered their files after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the typical crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be approximately $13,000. The alternative is to setup from scratch the vital elements of your Information Technology environment. Absent access to essential system backups, this requires a broad range of skill sets, professional team management, and the capability to work continuously until the recovery project is finished.

For twenty years, Progent has made available professional IT services for businesses in Melbourne and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes engineers who have attained advanced industry certifications in important technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience affords Progent the skills to knowledgably determine critical systems and organize the surviving pieces of your IT system after a ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's security group deploys state-of-the-art project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent appreciates the importance of working rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology staff to prioritize tasks and to get essential applications back online as fast as possible.

Client Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Response
A client engaged Progent after their organization was attacked by the Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of using techniques exposed from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little or no room for disruption and is one of the most profitable versions of ransomware viruses. Well Known victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had brought down all business operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's system backups had been on-line at the beginning of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and praying for good luck, but in the end brought in Progent.


"I cannot speak enough about the support Progent provided us during the most stressful period of (our) company's existence. We would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent group provided us. That you were able to get our e-mail system and essential servers back into operation sooner than five days was incredible. Every single expert I interacted with or messaged at Progent was urgently focused on getting us operational and was working breakneck pace on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly understand and assign priority to the critical elements that had to be recovered to make it possible to continue departmental operations:

  • Active Directory
  • Electronic Messaging
  • Financials/MRP
To get going, Progent adhered to Anti-virus incident mitigation industry best practices by isolating and removing active viruses. Progent then began the steps of recovering Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Exchange messaging will not function without Active Directory, and the businesses' MRP software utilized SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for authentication to the databases.

In less than two days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then assisted with reinstallations and storage recovery on the most important systems. All Exchange ties and configuration information were usable, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect intact OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Data Files) on various desktop computers and laptops to recover email information. A not too old offline backup of the businesses financials/ERP software made it possible to return these essential services back online. Although a large amount of work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk damage, the most important systems were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation showed little impact and we did not miss any customer shipments."

Over the next month critical milestones in the restoration project were made in close cooperation between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Internal web sites were restored without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Server with over 4 million archived emails was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory capabilities were completely recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • Ninety percent of the user PCs were operational.

"A lot of what transpired those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but our team will not soon forget the dedication all of the team accomplished to give us our company back. I've been working together with Progent for the past ten years, maybe more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This situation was a Herculean accomplishment."

Conclusion
A possible business catastrophe was avoided through the efforts of results-oriented professionals, a broad range of IT skills, and tight teamwork. Although in post mortem the crypto-ransomware virus penetration detailed here should have been identified and blocked with advanced security systems and recognized best practices, user and IT administrator training, and appropriate security procedures for data protection and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware incident, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and file disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), thanks very much for allowing me to get rested after we made it through the initial push. Everyone did an incredible effort, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in Melbourne a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI technology to detect zero-day strains of ransomware that are able to escape detection by legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade legacy signature-based AV products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to automate the complete malware attack progression including blocking, identification, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key features include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver affordable in-depth protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, penetration alarms, endpoint control, and web filtering via cutting-edge tools incorporated within one agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can assist your business to plan and implement a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's specific requirements and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry information protection regulations. Progent will help you define and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to install and verify a backup and disaster recovery system like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack such as ransomware. Learn 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 leading backup software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a selection of subscription-based management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services automate and monitor your data backup operations and allow transparent backup and fast restoration of important files/folders, apps, system images, and Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets your business recover from data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, user error, ill-intentioned employees, or software bugs. Managed services in the ProSight DPS product family include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup based on Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can help you to determine which of these managed services are best suited for your IT environment.

  • 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 infrastructure of leading data security companies to deliver centralized control and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard combines a Cloud Protection Layer with a local gateway device to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to external attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite security gateway appliance adds a further layer of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the local gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more details, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for smaller organizations to map out, track, optimize and debug their connectivity hardware like switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are kept current, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that need critical updates, or isolating performance issues. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management technology to keep your IT system operating at peak levels by tracking the health of critical computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is sent automatically to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so any potential problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's network support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hosting solution without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied a single hosting service. Learn 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, update, retrieve and safeguard information about your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to half of time wasted searching for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether you're planning improvements, performing maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you need when you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that incorporates next generation behavior analysis tools to guard endpoints and servers and VMs against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily evade legacy signature-based anti-virus tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to manage the complete malware attack lifecycle including protection, detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Call Center: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center services enable your IT staff to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or split activity for support services transparently between your in-house support staff and Progent's extensive pool of IT support engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Help Desk Service provides a smooth supplement to your internal network support team. Client access to the Help Desk, provision of support services, issue escalation, ticket generation and tracking, performance measurement, and management of the support database are cohesive whether issues are resolved by your in-house network support organization, by Progent's team, or by a combination. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Center services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of all sizes a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving IT network. Besides optimizing the security and functionality of your IT network, Progent's software/firmware update management services permit your in-house IT team to concentrate on line-of-business initiatives and activities that derive maximum business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's patch management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA managed services utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables single-tap identity verification on iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, when you log into a secured online account and enter your password you are asked to confirm who you are via a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a separate network channel. A broad range of out-of-band devices can be used for this second form of ID validation such as an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You can register several validation devices. To learn more about Duo identity validation services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.
For Melbourne 24-Hour Crypto-Ransomware Remediation Consulting, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.