Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that represents an enterprise-level threat for businesses unprepared for an assault. Different versions of ransomware like the CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been running rampant for years and continue to cause havoc. Recent strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Nephilim, along with frequent unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online files but also infiltrate many accessible system backups. Information replicated to cloud environments can also be held hostage. In a vulnerable system, this can render automatic restoration impossible and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.

Getting back programs and data following a ransomware outage becomes a sprint against time as the victim fights to stop lateral movement, eradicate the ransomware, and resume mission-critical activity. Since ransomware requires time to replicate, assaults are usually sprung during weekends and nights, when attacks in many cases take longer to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and coordinating an experienced mitigation team.

Progent makes available an assortment of services for protecting enterprises from crypto-ransomware penetrations. Among these are team education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of modern security solutions with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to detect and disable zero-day cyber attacks intelligently. Progent in addition provides the assistance of veteran crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and perseverance to re-deploy a compromised environment as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Following a crypto-ransomware invasion, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not ensure that distant criminals will respond with the keys to decrypt all your information. Kaspersky determined that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms are typically several hundred thousand dollars. For larger enterprises, the ransom can be in the millions. The other path is to piece back together the critical parts of your IT environment. Without access to complete system backups, this requires a broad complement of skills, top notch team management, and the capability to work non-stop until the task is finished.

For two decades, Progent has made available expert IT services for companies across the US and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes professionals who have been awarded advanced certifications in foundation technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security consultants have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, SANS GIAC, and CMMC 2.0. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise in financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise provides Progent the skills to efficiently ascertain important systems and integrate the remaining components of your network system after a ransomware event and rebuild them into a functioning system.

Progent's ransomware group has top notch project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of acting rapidly and in unison with a customer's management and IT staff to prioritize tasks and to get the most important systems back on-line as soon as possible.

Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Attack Restoration
A client contacted Progent after their company was attacked by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean government sponsored hackers, suspected of using algorithms exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with little room for operational disruption and is among the most profitable versions of ransomware malware. Headline organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturer based in Chicago with around 500 workers. The Ryuk attack had paralyzed all company operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's information backups had been online at the start of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200K) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I can't say enough in regards to the support Progent provided us throughout the most stressful period of (our) businesses life. We would have paid the cybercriminals if not for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. That you could get our e-mail and key servers back online sooner than a week was amazing. Each person I worked with or messaged at Progent was laser focused on getting us back online and was working day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked with the customer to rapidly determine and assign priority to the essential systems that needed to be addressed in order to continue company operations:

  • Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Financials/MRP
To start, Progent adhered to Anti-virus incident response industry best practices by stopping the spread and clearing infected systems. Progent then started the steps of bringing back online Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built on Microsoft technology. Exchange messaging will not work without Active Directory, and the customer's accounting and MRP applications leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory services for security authorization to the data.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory to its pre-virus state. Progent then completed setup and hard drive recovery of key servers. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find non-encrypted OST files (Outlook Email Offline Data Files) on various desktop computers and laptops to recover mail messages. A not too old off-line backup of the businesses accounting/ERP systems made them able to return these required programs back online for users. Although a lot of work was left to recover fully from the Ryuk virus, essential services were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the production line operation survived unscathed and we produced all customer orders."

During the next couple of weeks important milestones in the restoration process were achieved through tight cooperation between Progent engineers and the client:

  • In-house web applications were restored with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding four million historical emails was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were completely recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was set up and programmed.
  • Ninety percent of the user desktops and notebooks were operational.

"Much of what occurred those first few days is mostly a haze for me, but my team will not forget the countless hours each and every one of you accomplished to help get our business back. I have been working with Progent for the past ten years, maybe more, and each time Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This event was a life saver."

Conclusion
A probable business extinction disaster was dodged through the efforts of hard-working experts, a broad spectrum of knowledge, and close teamwork. Although in retrospect the ransomware incident detailed here would have been shut down with current security technology solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user and IT administrator education, and well designed incident response procedures for information protection and proper patching controls, the reality remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and information systems recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Chris (and any others who were involved), thank you for making it so I could get rested after we got past the initial push. Everyone did an incredible effort, and if anyone that helped 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 Ransomware Incident Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent offers businesses in San Diego UCSD a variety of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services include modern machine learning technology to uncover zero-day strains of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates SentinelOne's next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight ASM safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to manage the entire threat lifecycle including protection, identification, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver economical in-depth protection for physical and virtual servers, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and responding to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, penetration alarms, device control, and web filtering through leading-edge tools packaged within one agent managed from a single control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help you to plan 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 policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that require immediate attention. Progent can also assist you to set up and test a backup and restore solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup/restore software providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a portfolio of offerings that provide backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS products manage and monitor your backup processes and enable transparent backup and rapid restoration of important files, applications, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you protect against data loss resulting from hardware failures, natural disasters, fire, malware like ransomware, user mistakes, ill-intentioned employees, or software bugs. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS product family include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup based on Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can assist you to identify which of these fully managed backup services are most appropriate 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 technology of leading information security companies to deliver centralized control and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises security gateway appliance to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your network firewall. This reduces your vulnerability to inbound threats and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway appliance adds a further layer of analysis for incoming email. For outbound email, the onsite gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller organizations to diagram, monitor, reconfigure and debug their connectivity hardware such as routers, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, printers, client computers and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept current, captures and displays the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends notices when potential issues are detected. By automating time-consuming network management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks like network mapping, expanding your network, locating devices that need critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance bottlenecks. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your IT system operating efficiently by checking the health of critical assets that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so all looming issues can be resolved before they have a chance to impact productivity. Learn 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 organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual machine host set up and managed by Progent's IT support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer owns the data, the operating system platforms, and the applications. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting environment without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into one hosting service. Learn more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to capture, maintain, retrieve and protect information related to your network infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save as much as half of time spent looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized repository for storing and collaborating on all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for collecting and relating IT data. Whether you're making improvements, performing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you need when you need it. Learn more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Remediation
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes next generation behavior analysis tools to defend endpoints as well as physical and virtual servers against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by legacy signature-matching AV products. Progent ASM services safeguard local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire threat progression including protection, identification, containment, remediation, and forensics. Top features include one-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Service Center: Call Center Managed Services
    Progent's Call Desk managed services allow your information technology team to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or divide activity for support services transparently between your internal network support resources and Progent's extensive pool of certified IT service engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a transparent extension of your internal network support team. Client interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of support, issue escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, performance measurement, and maintenance of the support database are consistent whether incidents are resolved by your internal support staff, by Progent, or by a combination. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Service Center services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide businesses of any size a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your ever-evolving IT network. Besides optimizing the protection and functionality of your computer environment, Progent's patch management services free up time for your in-house IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives and activities that derive the highest business value from your network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication managed services utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity verification on Apple iOS, Google Android, and other personal devices. Using 2FA, whenever you sign into a protected application and give your password you are requested to confirm who you are via a unit that only you possess and that is accessed using a separate network channel. A wide selection of devices can be used for this added means of authentication including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You may register several verification devices. To learn more about ProSight Duo two-factor identity validation services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.

  • ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is an expanding line of real-time and in-depth management reporting tools created to work with the top ticketing and remote network monitoring applications such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to surface and contextualize key issues like spotty support follow-up or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health concerns concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For details, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For 24/7 San Diego UCSD Crypto Cleanup Experts, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.