Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Nightmare
Crypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyberplague that represents an enterprise-level threat for businesses poorly prepared for an attack. Different iterations of ransomware such as Reveton, Fusob, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and continue to inflict harm. More recent versions of crypto-ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, LockBit or Nephilim, as well as additional unnamed malware, not only encrypt online critical data but also infect any configured system restores and backups. Files synched to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable data protection solution, this can make automated recovery hopeless and basically sets the datacenter back to zero.
Getting back on-line applications and information after a ransomware attack becomes a race against the clock as the targeted business fights to stop the spread and clear the ransomware and to restore business-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware requires time to move laterally, penetrations are often launched at night, when penetrations are likely to take more time to uncover. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly marshalling and coordinating a capable response team.
Progent provides a range of support services for securing organizations from ransomware attacks. These include team member education to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus setup and configuration of modern security solutions with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to detect and extinguish day-zero cyber attacks quickly. Progent also can provide the services of experienced ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and perseverance to restore a breached network as quickly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Restoration Help
Following a ransomware attack, sending the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber hackers will respond with the needed codes to decrypt all your files. Kaspersky ascertained that 17% of ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more 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 crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The other path is to re-install the mission-critical elements of your IT environment. Without the availability of full system backups, this calls for a broad complement of skills, professional team management, and the ability to work 24x7 until the task is completed.
For two decades, Progent has offered certified expert Information Technology services for businesses in Detroit and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have earned advanced certifications in leading technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's security specialists have earned internationally-renowned certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of experience affords Progent the capability to efficiently determine necessary systems and consolidate the surviving pieces of your Information Technology environment after a ransomware event and assemble them into an operational system.
Progent's ransomware team of experts utilizes top notch project management applications to orchestrate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent understands the importance of acting quickly and in concert with a client's management and IT team members to assign priority to tasks and to get key applications back on line as fast as possible.
Client Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Response
A business escalated to Progent after their network was penetrated by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been developed by North Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly adopting techniques leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific companies with little or no room for operational disruption and is one of the most profitable instances of crypto-ransomware. Headline organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing company based in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 staff members. The Ryuk intrusion had shut down all company operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's data protection had been on-line at the time of the attack and were destroyed. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (in excess of two hundred thousand dollars) and praying for good luck, but in the end engaged Progent.
"I can't speak enough in regards to the care Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) company's survival. We would have paid the Hackers except for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and important servers back into operation faster than five days was something I thought impossible. Every single staff member I interacted with or e-mailed at Progent was amazingly focused on getting us back on-line and was working 24/7 to bail us out."
Progent worked together with the customer to quickly understand and assign priority to the key applications that needed to be recovered in order to restart business functions:
To get going, Progent followed ransomware incident mitigation best practices by isolating and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then began the task of bringing back online Microsoft AD, the key technology of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange messaging will not operate without AD, and the businesses' accounting and MRP software leveraged SQL Server, which needs Active Directory for access to the databases.
- Windows Active Directory
- Electronic Mail
Within two days, Progent was able to restore Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then accomplished setup and storage recovery on mission critical systems. All Exchange Server schema and attributes were intact, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find intact OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Data Files) on team workstations in order to recover email data. A not too old offline backup of the businesses financials/MRP systems made them able to recover these required applications back on-line. Although a lot of work still had to be done to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, the most important services were recovered rapidly:
"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation was never shut down and we produced all customer orders."
During the next month critical milestones in the recovery project were completed in close collaboration between Progent consultants and the client:
- In-house web applications were returned to operation without losing any data.
- The MailStore Server exceeding 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
- CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were completely recovered.
- A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was installed.
- 90% of the desktop computers were functioning as before the incident.
"Much of what went on in the early hours is mostly a blur for me, but our team will not forget the care each and every one of your team put in to give us our company back. I have utilized Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This event was a stunning achievement."
A likely business-ending catastrophe was avoided by hard-working professionals, a wide range of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although in retrospect the ransomware virus incident detailed here would have been identified and disabled with current security technology solutions and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff education, and well thought out security procedures for information protection and applying software patches, the reality is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from China, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware attack, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has a proven track record in ransomware virus blocking, removal, and file disaster recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were involved), I'm grateful for allowing me to get rested after we made it past the initial fire. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if anyone is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"
To read or download a PDF version of this case study, click:
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in Detroit a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to help you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services include next-generation machine learning capability to detect new strains of ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based security products.
For Detroit 24-Hour CryptoLocker Cleanup Consulting, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely escape traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to automate the entire malware attack progression including filtering, identification, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services deliver economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, penetration alerts, endpoint control, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within a single agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can assist you to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's unique needs and that helps you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information protection regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that call for urgent attention. Progent can also help your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous security attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has partnered with advanced backup/restore technology providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a selection of subscription-based offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services manage and track your backup processes and enable non-disruptive backup and fast recovery of vital files, applications, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS helps your business protect against data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural disasters, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, user mistakes, malicious insiders, or application bugs. Managed services in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these managed 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 service that incorporates the technology of top data security vendors to deliver centralized management and world-class protection for all your email traffic. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway device to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-borne threats. The cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks most threats from reaching your network firewall. This decreases your exposure to inbound threats and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway device provides a further layer of inspection for incoming email. For outbound email, the on-premises security gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and protect internal email that originates and ends inside your security perimeter. For more information, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller businesses to map, monitor, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances such as routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network diagrams are kept current, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when problems are discovered. By automating complex management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary chores like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that require critical software patches, or resolving performance issues. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management consulting.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) techniques to keep your network running at peak levels by tracking the state of vital assets that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is transmitted automatically to your designated IT management staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that all potential problems can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring services.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and apps hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual host set up and managed by Progent's IT support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the operating system software, and the apps. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hosting solution without requiring a time-consuming and difficult configuration process. 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
ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that allows you to capture, update, retrieve and protect data related to your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By updating and organizing your network documentation, you can save as much as half of time thrown away trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized repository for holding and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT data. Whether you're planning improvements, performing maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you need the instant you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Progent Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that incorporates cutting edge behavior analysis technology to defend endpoint devices and servers and VMs against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily get by traditional signature-matching anti-virus tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard local and cloud-based resources and offers a unified platform to address the entire malware attack lifecycle including protection, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.
- Progent's Outsourced/Shared Call Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
Progent's Support Desk managed services permit your IT group to outsource Call Center services to Progent or split activity for Help Desk services transparently between your in-house network support team and Progent's nationwide roster of IT support engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service provides a transparent supplement to your corporate IT support team. Client interaction with the Help Desk, delivery of technical assistance, escalation, ticket creation and updates, performance measurement, and maintenance of the service database are consistent whether incidents are taken care of by your internal network support group, by Progent's team, or both. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Desk services.
- Progent's Patch Management: Patch Management Services
Progent's managed services for patch management provide organizations of all sizes a versatile and affordable solution for assessing, testing, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving information system. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your in-house IT team to focus on line-of-business projects and tasks that derive the highest business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
Progent's Duo MFA managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity confirmation with Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you sign into a secured application and give your password you are asked to confirm who you are via a unit that only you have and that is accessed using a different network channel. A wide selection of devices can be utilized for this added means of authentication such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware/software token, a landline telephone, etc. You may designate multiple verification devices. To learn more about ProSight Duo identity validation services, go to Cisco Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.
- ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
ProSight Reporting is a growing suite of real-time management reporting plug-ins designed to work with the industry's 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 critical issues like inconsistent support follow-through or machines with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.