Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware  Remediation ProfessionalsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an existential danger for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an assault. Different versions of ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for many years and still cause harm. Newer versions of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, LockBit or Egregor, along with daily unnamed malware, not only encrypt on-line data files but also infect most available system protection. Information synched to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed system, this can make automatic restore operations impossible and effectively sets the entire system back to square one.

Getting back services and data after a ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization tries its best to contain the damage and eradicate the crypto-ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware takes time to move laterally, attacks are often launched on weekends and holidays, when successful penetrations typically take longer to notice. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent has a variety of solutions for securing enterprises from crypto-ransomware attacks. These include team member education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of the latest generation security solutions with AI technology to automatically discover and suppress zero-day threats. Progent in addition can provide the services of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and commitment to restore a compromised system as urgently as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Soon after a ransomware penetration, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will respond with the keys to decipher any of your information. Kaspersky estimated that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their files after having paid the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be around $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the key parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete data backups, this calls for a broad complement of skill sets, top notch team management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the task is finished.

For twenty years, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for businesses in Dallas and throughout the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's 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 including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity engineers have garnered internationally-recognized industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in accounting and ERP applications. This breadth of experience gives Progent the ability to efficiently understand important systems and consolidate the remaining parts of your Information Technology environment after a ransomware event and assemble them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware group uses top notch project management tools to coordinate the complex recovery process. Progent knows the urgency of working quickly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology staff to prioritize tasks and to get critical services back on line as soon as possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Virus Recovery
A customer contacted Progent after their network system was penetrated by the Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been deployed by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting techniques leaked from Americaís National Security Agency. Ryuk seeks specific organizations with little tolerance for disruption and is among the most profitable iterations of ransomware malware. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing business headquartered in Chicago with about 500 employees. The Ryuk event had disabled all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's information backups had been on-line at the start of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (more than $200K) and praying for good luck, but ultimately reached out to Progent.


"I canít thank you enough about the support Progent gave us during the most critical time of (our) businesses survival. We would have paid the Hackers if it wasnít for the confidence the Progent team gave us. That you could get our e-mail system and important servers back into operation quicker than 1 week was something I thought impossible. Every single consultant I spoke to or communicated with at Progent was totally committed on getting our system up and was working 24/7 to bail us out."

Progent worked with the customer to quickly get our arms around and assign priority to the critical services that needed to be restored in order to restart company operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Electronic Messaging
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To get going, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes penetration response best practices by isolating and performing virus removal steps. Progent then began the task of rebuilding Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise networks built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without Windows AD, and the businessesí MRP software leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which needs Windows AD for access to the databases.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Windows Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then charged ahead with reinstallations and storage recovery of the most important systems. All Exchange ties and attributes were usable, which facilitated the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate local OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on various desktop computers to recover email information. A recent off-line backup of the client's accounting software made it possible to return these essential applications back online. Although a lot of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, essential services were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the production line operation never missed a beat and we made all customer deliverables."

Over the next few weeks important milestones in the recovery process were achieved in tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • In-house web applications were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server with over four million historical messages was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control functions were completely operational.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed.
  • Most of the user PCs were back into operation.

"Much of what was accomplished that first week is mostly a haze for me, but my management will not soon forget the urgency each and every one of the team accomplished to help get our company back. I have utilized Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This situation was a life saver."

Conclusion
A probable business-killing catastrophe was averted due to hard-working experts, a broad spectrum of technical expertise, and close teamwork. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware penetration detailed here should have been blocked with current security technology and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and well thought out incident response procedures for backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (along with others that were helping), Iím grateful for making it so I could get rested after we got over the initial push. All of you did an fabulous job, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Dallas a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to reduce the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate next-generation artificial intelligence capability to detect zero-day strains of ransomware that can evade legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely escape traditional signature-matching AV products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to address the complete threat lifecycle including blocking, detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services deliver affordable in-depth protection for physical servers and VMs, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and advanced heuristics for continuously monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, penetration alerts, endpoint management, and web filtering via leading-edge tools packaged within a single agent accessible from a unified console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's unique requirements and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data security standards. Progent will assist you define and implement policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that call for urgent action. Progent can also help you to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a destructive security attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of management outsourcing plans that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS products automate and track your data backup processes and enable transparent backup and rapid restoration of critical files/folders, applications, images, and Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business avoid data loss resulting from hardware breakdown, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, user mistakes, ill-intentioned employees, or software glitches. Managed services in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight DPS Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Backup, ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can assist you to identify which of these managed backup 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 incorporates the infrastructure of top information security companies to provide web-based management and comprehensive protection for all your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway appliance to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a preliminary barricade and keeps most threats from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to external attacks and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's on-premises gateway appliance provides a further layer of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the local gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email that originates and ends within your security perimeter. For more information, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, track, optimize and debug their networking hardware such as switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network maps are kept updated, copies and manages the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and sends alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating complex management and troubleshooting activities, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that require critical updates, or isolating performance bottlenecks. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to keep your IT system running at peak levels by checking the state of critical computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is sent immediately to your specified IT personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so that any potential problems can be resolved before they can disrupt productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual host set up and managed by Progent's network support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hardware solution without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting service. Find out 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 makes it easy to capture, maintain, find and protect data related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted about impending expirations of SSL certificates or domains. By updating and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to half of time wasted searching for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common repository for holding and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as recommended procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether youíre planning improvements, performing maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the knowledge you require when you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to guard endpoints as well as physical and virtual servers against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily evade legacy signature-based AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect local and cloud resources and provides a single platform to address the complete malware attack lifecycle including blocking, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center services enable your information technology team to offload Help Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support group and Progent's nationwide roster of certified IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a transparent supplement to your internal support organization. Client interaction with the Service Desk, delivery of support services, escalation, trouble ticket creation and updates, efficiency metrics, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether issues are resolved by your corporate IT support organization, by Progent, or a mix of the two. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management provide organizations of all sizes a flexible and affordable alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and documenting updates to your dynamic information network. Besides optimizing the protection and reliability of your computer environment, Progent's patch management services free up time for your IT team to focus on line-of-business projects and tasks that derive the highest business value from your information network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo enables one-tap identity confirmation with iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using 2FA, whenever you sign into a secured online account and enter your password you are asked to verify your identity via a device that only you have and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A wide selection of out-of-band devices can be utilized as this second form of authentication including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You may designate several validation devices. To learn more about ProSight Duo two-factor identity validation services, go to Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.
For 24x7 Dallas Ransomware Removal Experts, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.