Ransomware : Your Worst IT Disaster
Ransomware  Remediation ProfessionalsCrypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an enterprise-level danger for organizations unprepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware like the Dharma, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and still cause damage. Newer versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Snatch or Egregor, as well as daily as yet unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt on-line files but also infiltrate most available system protection mechanisms. Files synched to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a poorly architected system, it can render any restoration impossible and effectively sets the datacenter back to zero.

Restoring services and data following a ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the targeted business struggles to contain and eradicate the ransomware and to restore business-critical operations. Because ransomware requires time to spread, assaults are often launched at night, when attacks typically take longer to identify. This compounds the difficulty of promptly assembling and orchestrating a capable response team.

Progent makes available a variety of services for protecting organizations from ransomware attacks. These include team member training to become familiar with and avoid phishing attempts, 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 detect and extinguish day-zero threats intelligently. Progent in addition can provide the services of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the track record and commitment to re-deploy a breached system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Support Services
Following a ransomware event, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that distant criminals will return the keys to unencrypt any or all of your information. Kaspersky ascertained that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information after having paid the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the vital elements of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of complete data backups, this calls for a broad complement of skills, professional team management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the recovery project is finished.

For two decades, Progent has provided professional Information Technology services for companies in San Bernardino and across the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes consultants who have attained advanced industry certifications in leading technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise provides Progent the capability to knowledgably ascertain critical systems and organize the surviving parts of your network environment after a ransomware attack and configure them into a functioning system.

Progent's recovery group uses powerful project management systems to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent appreciates the importance of working rapidly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology resources to assign priority to tasks and to put essential services back on line as fast as possible.

Client Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Recovery
A business sought out Progent after their network was crashed by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been created by Northern Korean government sponsored cybercriminals, suspected of adopting approaches exposed from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with little ability to sustain disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware malware. Well Known organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing business based in Chicago and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk event had paralyzed all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's backups had been online at the beginning of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client considered paying the ransom (in excess of $200,000) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but ultimately engaged Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough about the support Progent provided us throughout the most stressful period of (our) company�s survival. We may have had to pay the cybercriminals if not for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail system and important servers back online faster than one week was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single expert I spoke to or texted at Progent was amazingly focused on getting our system up and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly get our arms around and assign priority to the most important areas that needed to be recovered in order to resume business operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To get going, Progent followed ransomware event mitigation industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and clearing infected systems. Progent then started the task of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise systems built upon Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without Windows AD, and the customer�s accounting and MRP software utilized Microsoft SQL, which requires Active Directory services for security authorization to the data.

Within 2 days, Progent was able to restore Active Directory services to its pre-virus state. Progent then completed reinstallations and storage recovery on essential servers. All Exchange Server data and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to locate local OST files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user desktop computers and laptops to recover mail messages. A not too old off-line backup of the client's accounting software made it possible to return these required programs back online. Although significant work was left to recover totally from the Ryuk event, essential systems were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the assembly line operation ran fairly normal throughout and we produced all customer sales."

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

  • Internal web sites were restored with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding four million archived emails was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory functions were 100 percent functional.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was installed.
  • Most of the user desktops and notebooks were being used by staff.

"A huge amount of what occurred in the early hours is nearly entirely a fog for me, but my management will not forget the urgency all of you put in to help get our company back. I�ve trusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and every time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered as promised. This time was the most impressive ever."

Conclusion
A likely business-killing catastrophe was dodged with hard-working professionals, a broad range of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the crypto-ransomware virus penetration detailed here could have been blocked with current cyber security technology and recognized best practices, team training, and well designed security procedures for data backup and applying software patches, the fact is that government-sponsored hackers from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incident, remember that Progent's roster of professionals has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and file disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Chris (along with others who were contributing), thanks very much for allowing me to get some sleep after we got through the initial fire. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if any of your guys is around the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in San Bernardino a variety of remote monitoring and security evaluation services to help you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize next-generation AI technology to detect zero-day variants of ransomware that are able to escape detection by legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against new malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to automate the complete threat lifecycle including protection, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Key features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, penetration alarms, device management, and web filtering via cutting-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist your business to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your organization's specific needs and that allows you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information protection standards. Progent will help you define and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup/restore software providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a selection of subscription-based management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your data backup operations and enable transparent backup and fast recovery of vital files, applications, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS lets you protect against data loss resulting from hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, user error, malicious employees, or application bugs. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight DPS Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Backup, ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built storage, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine 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 infrastructure of top data security companies to deliver centralized management and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with a local gateway device to provide advanced defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound threats and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway appliance adds a further layer of analysis for incoming email. For outbound email, the local security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The on-premises security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email that stays within your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller businesses to map out, monitor, optimize and troubleshoot their networking hardware such as switches, firewalls, and access points plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch ensures that network diagrams are always updated, copies and displays the configuration information of almost all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends notices when problems are detected. By automating complex network management activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that require important updates, or resolving performance issues. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progents server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to keep your IT system operating efficiently by checking the health of critical computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alert is sent immediately to your specified IT management personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so any looming problems can be resolved before they can disrupt your network. Find out more 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 key servers and applications hosted in a secure fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host set up and maintained by Progent's network support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer owns the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting solution without a time-consuming and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting provider. Learn more 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 makes it easy to capture, update, find and safeguard information about your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be alerted automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs or domains. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save as much as half of time thrown away looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether youre planning enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you need when you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that utilizes next generation behavior analysis tools to defend endpoints as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely escape traditional signature-based anti-virus products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to automate the complete malware attack lifecycle including filtering, detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Learn more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Center: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Center managed services permit your IT team to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support transparently between your in-house network support group and Progent's extensive pool of IT service engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a transparent extension of your corporate network support team. User interaction with the Help Desk, delivery of technical assistance, issue escalation, ticket creation and updates, performance measurement, and management of the service database are cohesive regardless of whether issues are resolved by your corporate support resources, by Progent, or by a combination. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/shared Call Desk services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic information network. Besides optimizing the protection and functionality of your IT network, Progent's software/firmware update management services permit your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic projects and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification with iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you sign into a secured application and enter your password you are asked to verify your identity via a unit that only you possess and that uses a separate network channel. A broad selection of devices can be utilized as this second form of authentication such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You can register several validation devices. For more information about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, visit Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.
For San Bernardino 24/7 Crypto-Ransomware Removal Support Services, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.