Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Nightmare
Ransomware  Remediation ExpertsRansomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that poses an enterprise-level danger for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an attack. Versions of ransomware like the CrySIS, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and continue to inflict destruction. Newer variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Egregor, as well as frequent unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt online critical data but also infiltrate all accessible system backups. Files synchronized to the cloud can also be encrypted. In a vulnerable system, it can make any restore operations useless and basically knocks the datacenter back to square one.

Restoring programs and information after a ransomware attack becomes a race against time as the targeted business fights to contain and eradicate the virus and to restore enterprise-critical operations. Since ransomware requires time to replicate, attacks are frequently sprung on weekends and holidays, when successful penetrations tend to take more time to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly assembling and organizing an experienced mitigation team.

Progent makes available an assortment of services for securing organizations from crypto-ransomware events. These include user training to help identify and avoid phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of the latest generation security gateways with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to detect and quarantine new cyber attacks quickly. Progent in addition offers the services of veteran ransomware recovery professionals with the track record and perseverance to re-deploy a compromised network as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
Subsequent to a ransomware attack, even paying the ransom in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber hackers will return the codes to decipher any of your data. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their files even after having sent off 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 significantly above the typical crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be in the range of $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the vital elements of your IT environment. Absent access to complete information backups, this calls for a broad range of skills, well-coordinated project management, and the willingness to work non-stop until the job is finished.

For twenty years, Progent has made available certified expert IT services for businesses in Detroit and across the US and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts includes professionals who have earned high-level industry certifications in foundation technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security consultants have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to rapidly determine critical systems and integrate the remaining pieces of your IT environment after a ransomware event and assemble them into an operational network.

Progent's security group utilizes state-of-the-art project management systems to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent appreciates the importance of acting rapidly and in unison with a client's management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to get the most important applications back online as soon as possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Response
A business engaged Progent after their network system was penetrated by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is generally considered to have been deployed by Northern Korean state cybercriminals, suspected of adopting algorithms exposed from America's NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little ability to sustain disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware viruses. High publicized organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had frozen all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's data protection had been on-line at the beginning of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was evaluating paying the ransom demand (in excess of two hundred thousand dollars) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end reached out to Progent.


"I cannot say enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) company's existence. We most likely would have paid the hackers behind this attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent group gave us. That you were able to get our e-mail and essential servers back into operation in less than 1 week was something I thought impossible. Each expert I got help from or communicated with at Progent was totally committed on getting us back online and was working day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the customer to quickly determine and assign priority to the most important systems that had to be addressed in order to restart business operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • E-Mail
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To begin, Progent followed ransomware event response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then initiated the process of recovering Microsoft AD, the foundation of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Exchange messaging will not function without AD, and the customer's MRP software used SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for access to the databases.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then accomplished rebuilding and hard drive recovery of critical servers. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble local OST data files (Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user workstations to recover mail messages. A not too old offline backup of the customer's accounting/ERP software made them able to recover these essential programs back servicing users. Although a large amount of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, critical systems were restored quickly:


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

During the next couple of weeks key milestones in the restoration process were accomplished in tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Internal web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding four million archived emails was brought online and available for users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable/AR/Inventory Control modules were 100 percent restored.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was set up.
  • Nearly all of the user workstations were being used by staff.

"A huge amount of what went on in the early hours is mostly a fog for me, but my team will not forget the urgency all of your team accomplished to help get our company back. I have utilized Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This time was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A probable company-ending catastrophe was avoided with hard-working experts, a wide range of IT skills, and tight collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware virus penetration described here could have been shut down with current security solutions and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and properly executed security procedures for information protection and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware penetration, remember that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were helping), I'm grateful for allowing me to get some sleep after we made it through the most critical parts. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

To read or download a PDF version of this ransomware incident report, click:
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Detroit a variety of remote monitoring and security assessment services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI capability to uncover zero-day strains of crypto-ransomware that are able to get past legacy signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by traditional signature-based AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to address the complete threat progression including filtering, detection, containment, cleanup, and forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows VSS and automatic system-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services deliver economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and VMs, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to security assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, endpoint management, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible 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 organization's unique needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry data protection regulations. Progent will assist you specify and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and verify a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup software providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a portfolio of offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services automate and track your backup operations and enable non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of critical files/folders, applications, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS lets your business avoid data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, human mistakes, malicious insiders, or application glitches. Managed services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product family include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can help you to determine which of these fully managed backup 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 leading information security vendors to deliver web-based control and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with a local gateway device to provide complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based threats. The Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway provides AV and anti-spam protection, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that stays inside your security perimeter. For more information, visit Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and affordable for small and mid-sized organizations to map out, monitor, reconfigure and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware like routers, firewalls, and wireless controllers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always updated, captures and displays the configuration of virtually all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when potential issues are detected. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common tasks like making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding appliances that need important software patches, or isolating performance issues. Find out more 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 remote monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management technology to help keep your network operating efficiently by checking the health of vital computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alarm is sent automatically to your designated IT staff and your Progent engineering consultant so all potential issues can be addressed before they can impact productivity. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and apps hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's network support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system software, and the applications. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to a different hosting solution without a lengthy and technically risky configuration process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not locked into a single hosting service. Learn more details about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that allows you to create, maintain, find and safeguard information related to your network infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your network documentation, you can save as much as half of time thrown away looking for critical information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common location for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether you're planning enhancements, doing regular maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you require the instant you need it. Find out more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection managed service that utilizes next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard endpoints and physical and virtual servers against modern malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape legacy signature-matching AV tools. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to address the entire threat lifecycle including filtering, identification, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Key features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Call Center: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Desk services allow your IT staff to offload Call Center services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support group and Progent's extensive pool of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a smooth extension of your internal network support organization. Client access to the Help Desk, delivery of support services, problem escalation, ticket generation and tracking, efficiency measurement, and management of the support database are consistent whether issues are taken care of by your internal IT support organization, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Desk services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management provide businesses of any size a flexible and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving IT network. Besides optimizing the security and reliability of your IT network, Progent's patch management services allow your in-house IT staff to focus on more strategic projects and activities that deliver the highest business value from your information network. Read more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA managed services utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against password theft by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity verification with iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using 2FA, whenever you log into a protected online account and enter your password you are asked to verify your identity on a device that only you possess and that uses a separate network channel. A broad range of devices can be used for this added form of ID validation including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may designate multiple verification devices. For more information about ProSight Duo identity validation services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication services for access security.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing line of real-time and in-depth management reporting utilities designed to integrate with the leading ticketing and remote network monitoring applications such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to surface and contextualize key issues like inconsistent support follow-through or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health problems clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves productivity, reduces management overhead, and saves money. For details, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For 24-7 Detroit Ransomware Repair Experts, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.