Crypto-Ransomware : Your Worst Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ProfessionalsRansomware has become a too-frequent cyberplague that presents an existential danger for organizations vulnerable to an attack. Multiple generations of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for many years and still inflict havoc. The latest strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Egregor, plus frequent as yet unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of on-line information but also infect all available system restores and backups. Information replicated to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable data protection solution, this can make automatic recovery useless and basically sets the datacenter back to square one.

Recovering applications and information following a ransomware attack becomes a race against time as the targeted business tries its best to stop lateral movement and remove the crypto-ransomware and to resume mission-critical operations. Because crypto-ransomware takes time to move laterally, attacks are frequently sprung at night, when penetrations may take more time to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of promptly mobilizing and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent makes available a variety of support services for protecting organizations from crypto-ransomware events. Among these are staff education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to installation of next-generation security appliances with AI capabilities from SentinelOne to identify and disable new threats automatically. Progent in addition can provide the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery consultants with the track record and commitment to reconstruct a compromised environment as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Help
After a ransomware event, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will provide the codes to decrypt any or all of your data. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their data after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the key elements of your IT environment. Without access to complete system backups, this calls for a broad range of skills, top notch team management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the task is completed.

For two decades, Progent has provided professional IT services for businesses in Dayton and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes engineers who have attained advanced industry certifications in foundation technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's security specialists have garnered internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (See 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 important systems and re-organize the remaining parts of your network system after a ransomware event and configure them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts uses best of breed project management systems to orchestrate the complicated restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working rapidly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to put essential applications back on line as soon as humanly possible.

Client Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Incident Response
A business sought out Progent after their network was taken over by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is believed to have been developed by Northern Korean state sponsored hackers, possibly using approaches leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little or no ability to sustain disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware viruses. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturer located in the Chicago metro area with around 500 workers. The Ryuk penetration had paralyzed all business operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's information backups had been directly accessible at the start of the attack and were encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I cannot say enough in regards to the help Progent gave us throughout the most critical period of (our) businesses existence. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals if not for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. The fact that you were able to get our e-mail and critical servers back online in less than a week was incredible. Each expert I spoke to or e-mailed at Progent was absolutely committed on getting our company operational and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked with the client to quickly understand and assign priority to the critical areas that had to be addressed to make it possible to continue company operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Email
  • Accounting/MRP
To get going, Progent adhered to Anti-virus incident mitigation industry best practices by halting the spread and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then initiated the steps of recovering Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not operate without AD, and the customer's financials and MRP system leveraged Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory for security authorization to the information.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-attack state. Progent then accomplished reinstallations and storage recovery on needed servers. All Exchange Server ties and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect non-encrypted OST data files (Outlook Email Offline Data Files) on team PCs to recover mail information. A not too old off-line backup of the customer's accounting/MRP software made it possible to recover these essential programs back servicing users. Although significant work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk event, critical services were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation was never shut down and we made all customer orders."

During the next few weeks important milestones in the restoration project were made in close collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web sites were brought back up with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding 4 million historical emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control functions were 100% operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was brought online.
  • 90% of the user desktops and notebooks were being used by staff.

"A lot of what happened in the early hours is nearly entirely a fog for me, but my management will not forget the care all of your team put in to give us our company back. I've utilized Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and each time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This event was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A likely business extinction catastrophe was dodged due to results-oriented experts, a broad array of IT skills, and close teamwork. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware penetration described here should have been identified and stopped with current cyber security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, team education, and properly executed incident response procedures for backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality remains that state-sponsored hackers from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has substantial experience in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and data recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thank you for making it so I could get rested after we made it through the most critical parts. All of you did an amazing effort, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Dayton a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services include next-generation artificial intelligence technology to uncover zero-day variants of ransomware that can get past 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 utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based machine learning tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the complete threat progression including protection, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer ultra-affordable in-depth security for physical and virtual servers, desktops, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and responding to security assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP delivers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device control, and web filtering through cutting-edge tools packaged within a single agent managed from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can assist you to plan and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's unique requirements and that allows you prove compliance with legal and industry information protection regulations. Progent will assist you specify and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and react to alerts that call for urgent action. Progent can also assist you to set up and verify a backup and disaster recovery solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with leading backup/restore technology companies to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a selection of subscription-based management offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products automate and monitor your backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of important files/folders, applications, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business recover from data loss caused by hardware breakdown, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, user error, malicious insiders, or software glitches. Managed backup services in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert 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 filtering service that uses the technology of leading data security vendors to deliver web-based management and world-class protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The powerful structure of Email Guard combines cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway appliance to provide advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of threats from making it to your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway appliance provides a further layer of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the onsite gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also help Exchange Server to track and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller organizations to map out, track, reconfigure and debug their networking appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that network diagrams are always current, captures and displays the configuration information of almost all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating devices that require critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance problems. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that incorporates state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your network operating at peak levels by tracking the health of critical assets that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is sent automatically to your designated IT personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so all looming issues can be addressed before they can disrupt your network. 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 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 high-performance virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's network support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hardware environment without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into one hosting service. Find out 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, find and protect data related to your network infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be alerted about impending expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By cleaning up and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time thrown away trying to find critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for storing and collaborating on all documents required for managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT information. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you require when you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that incorporates cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to defend endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against modern malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by legacy signature-based AV products. Progent ASM services safeguard local and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to automate the complete malware attack progression including blocking, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Help Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center services allow your IT team to outsource Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for Help Desk services transparently between your internal network support group and Progent's extensive pool of certified IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a smooth extension of your core network support group. Client access to the Help Desk, delivery of support services, problem escalation, trouble ticket generation and tracking, performance metrics, and maintenance of the service database are consistent whether issues are taken care of by your core IT support staff, by Progent's team, or both. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Help Desk services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective alternative for assessing, testing, scheduling, applying, and tracking updates to your dynamic information network. Besides optimizing the protection and functionality of your IT network, Progent's software/firmware update management services allow your IT staff to concentrate on line-of-business projects and activities that derive the highest business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against password theft through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo enables single-tap identity verification on iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. With 2FA, when you sign into a protected application and enter your password you are requested to confirm who you are on a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A broad selection of out-of-band devices can be utilized as this added form of authentication such as a smartphone or watch, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register multiple verification devices. For details about Duo identity authentication services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is an expanding family of real-time and in-depth reporting utilities designed to integrate with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring programs including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to surface and contextualize key issues such as spotty support follow-through or machines with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For details, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For Dayton 24x7 Crypto Repair Support Services, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.