Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared IT Nightmare
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become an escalating cyberplague that represents an enterprise-level danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware like the Dharma, WannaCry, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for many years and continue to cause havoc. Newer variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Nephilim, plus more as yet unnamed malware, not only do encryption of on-line data files but also infiltrate any available system protection mechanisms. Information synchronized to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed system, this can make any restore operations hopeless and effectively knocks the network back to zero.

Getting back on-line applications and information following a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the victim tries its best to contain the damage and clear the virus and to restore mission-critical operations. Since ransomware requires time to move laterally, assaults are often launched during nights and weekends, when penetrations in many cases take longer to identify. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent provides a range of help services for protecting enterprises from crypto-ransomware penetrations. These include staff education to help recognize and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of the latest generation security gateways with AI capabilities from SentinelOne to identify and disable day-zero cyber attacks automatically. Progent also provides the services of seasoned crypto-ransomware recovery consultants with the skills and commitment to rebuild a compromised network as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Soon after a ransomware event, even paying the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that merciless criminals will provide the needed codes to unencrypt all your data. Kaspersky Labs estimated that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their information even after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be approximately $13,000. The other path is to piece back together the vital parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of full information backups, this requires a wide complement of IT skills, top notch project management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the task is finished.

For decades, Progent has provided expert Information Technology services for businesses in Recife and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes engineers who have earned advanced certifications in key technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity specialists have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise with financial systems and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the skills to rapidly understand critical systems and organize the surviving pieces of your network environment following a ransomware penetration and configure them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware group utilizes top notch project management tools to coordinate the complicated restoration process. Progent knows the importance of acting swiftly and in concert with a client's management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to get key services back online as fast as humanly possible.

Client Story: A Successful Ransomware Incident Response
A small business sought out Progent after their company was penetrated by the Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is believed to have been launched by Northern Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting algorithms leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific organizations with little or no ability to sustain disruption and is one of the most profitable instances of ransomware malware. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a regional manufacturer headquartered in Chicago and has about 500 staff members. The Ryuk intrusion had paralyzed all business operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's information backups had been on-line at the time of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and hoping for good luck, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough about the help Progent gave us throughout the most stressful time of (our) company's life. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals except for the confidence the Progent group provided us. That you were able to get our messaging and essential applications back into operation in less than seven days was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single staff member I spoke to or messaged at Progent was amazingly focused on getting our company operational and was working all day and night on our behalf."

Progent worked with the client to rapidly assess and assign priority to the mission critical systems that had to be addressed in order to continue departmental functions:

  • Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Financials/MRP
To start, Progent adhered to ransomware incident mitigation best practices by stopping the spread and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then started the process of recovering Active Directory, the core of enterprise networks built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without Windows AD, and the client's accounting and MRP applications used SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for access to the information.

Within two days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then completed rebuilding and storage recovery of key applications. All Exchange schema and configuration information were intact, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find non-encrypted OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on various workstations and laptops in order to recover email messages. A recent off-line backup of the customer's accounting/ERP software made it possible to return these essential applications back servicing users. Although significant work was left to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, essential systems were restored quickly:


"For the most part, the production line operation showed little impact and we made all customer orders."

Throughout the following few weeks critical milestones in the recovery project were completed through close cooperation between Progent team members and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web applications were restored with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server exceeding 4 million archived emails was brought on-line and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory Control modules were completely functional.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was set up and programmed.
  • Nearly all of the desktop computers were being used by staff.

"A huge amount of what transpired during the initial response is nearly entirely a fog for me, but my team will not soon forget the urgency all of your team put in to give us our business back. I have trusted Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has shined and delivered. This event was a Herculean accomplishment."

Conclusion
A possible enterprise-killing catastrophe was evaded by top-tier professionals, a broad range of subject matter expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in retrospect the crypto-ransomware virus incident described here would have been blocked with up-to-date security technology solutions and security best practices, team education, and well designed incident response procedures for backup and applying software patches, the reality remains that state-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and data restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were involved), thank you for making it so I could get rested after we got past the first week. All of you did an impressive effort, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

To read 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 Recife a portfolio of remote monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern 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 is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior analysis tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire malware attack progression including blocking, infiltration detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and responding to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alarms, device control, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that meets your company's unique needs and that helps you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data protection standards. Progent will help you define and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alerts that call for immediate attention. Progent can also assist your company to install and test a backup and disaster recovery system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup/restore technology companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a selection of management outsourcing plans that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products automate and monitor your backup operations and allow transparent backup and fast recovery of vital files/folders, apps, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS lets your business avoid data loss caused by equipment breakdown, natural calamities, fire, malware like ransomware, human error, malicious insiders, or software bugs. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS product line include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built storage, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these fully managed backup 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 filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the technology of leading data security vendors to deliver web-based control and comprehensive security for your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Progent's Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway device to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne malware. The cloud filter serves as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to external threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a further level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also help Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for smaller businesses to map, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware such as switches, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, endpoints and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept current, captures and displays the configuration information of almost all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends notices when problems are detected. By automating complex management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off common chores such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that require critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your network operating efficiently by checking the state of vital assets that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is transmitted automatically to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that all looming issues can be resolved before they can disrupt productivity. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • 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 high-performance virtual host set up and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to a different hosting environment without requiring a time-consuming and difficult reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into 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 create, update, retrieve and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about impending expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your IT documentation, you can eliminate as much as half of time spent trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized repository for holding and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you need the instant you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection managed service that utilizes next generation behavior analysis tools to defend endpoints as well as servers and VMs against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to address the entire malware attack lifecycle including blocking, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Learn more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Call Center: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center managed services allow your information technology group to offload Support Desk services to Progent or split responsibilities for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support team and Progent's nationwide roster of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Service Desk provides a transparent supplement to your in-house network support organization. Client interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of technical assistance, escalation, ticket creation and updates, performance metrics, and management of the service database are cohesive whether incidents are taken care of by your internal IT support group, by Progent's team, or both. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for patch management provide businesses of all sizes a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, testing, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving IT network. Besides maximizing the protection and reliability of your IT network, Progent's software/firmware update management services allow your in-house IT team to focus on line-of-business initiatives and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Find out more about Progent's patch management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA services utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo supports single-tap identity confirmation with iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. With Duo 2FA, whenever you sign into a protected online account and give your password you are asked to confirm who you are on a unit that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A broad selection of out-of-band devices can be utilized as this second form of ID validation including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You may designate multiple verification devices. For details about Duo two-factor identity authentication services, see Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing line of real-time and in-depth management reporting plug-ins designed to work with the leading 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 highlight and contextualize key issues such as inconsistent support follow-through or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances productivity, reduces management hassle, and saves money. For details, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For 24/7/365 Recife Ransomware Cleanup Support Services, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.