Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an existential threat for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an assault. Different iterations of ransomware like the Dharma, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for many years and continue to cause harm. Recent versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Egregor, along with more unnamed newcomers, not only do encryption of online information but also infiltrate most accessible system backup. Data synchronized to cloud environments can also be ransomed. In a poorly designed system, it can render automatic restoration hopeless and effectively knocks the entire system back to zero.
Restoring applications and information following a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a race against time as the victim fights to contain the damage and cleanup the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical activity. Since crypto-ransomware takes time to move laterally, assaults are frequently launched during weekends and nights, when penetrations typically take more time to detect. This compounds the difficulty of promptly marshalling and organizing a qualified response team.
Progent makes available a variety of services for protecting businesses from crypto-ransomware penetrations. These include user education to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with setup and configuration of the latest generation security gateways with machine learning technology from SentinelOne to identify and disable day-zero cyber attacks automatically. Progent also offers the services of seasoned ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and perseverance to restore a compromised environment as rapidly as possible.
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
Following a crypto-ransomware attack, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber hackers will provide the needed keys to unencrypt all your information. Kaspersky Labs determined that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the typical crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be around $13,000. The alternative is to setup from scratch the vital parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete data backups, this requires a broad complement of skills, professional project management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the job is over.
For two decades, Progent has offered certified expert IT services for companies in El Paso and 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 consultants who have been awarded advanced industry certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to knowledgably identify important systems and integrate the surviving pieces of your IT environment after a ransomware attack and assemble them into a functioning network.
Progent's security team of experts utilizes best of breed project management tools to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working quickly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology resources to assign priority to tasks and to put critical applications back on line as fast as humanly possible.
Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Recovery
A customer sought out Progent after their network was taken over by the Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by North Korean state sponsored cybercriminals, possibly adopting algorithms exposed from the U.S. National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific organizations with little tolerance for operational disruption and is one of the most lucrative versions of ransomware viruses. Major targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business headquartered in the Chicago metro area with around 500 employees. The Ryuk attack had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's system backups had been directly accessible at the time of the intrusion and were destroyed. The client considered paying the ransom demand (in excess of $200K) and hoping for good luck, but ultimately utilized Progent.
"I cannot say enough in regards to the support Progent gave us during the most fearful time of (our) company's survival. We had little choice but to pay the cybercriminals if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent experts provided us. That you were able to get our e-mail system and key applications back quicker than seven days was incredible. Each consultant I talked with or messaged at Progent was absolutely committed on getting us restored and was working day and night on our behalf."
Progent worked together with the client to quickly determine and prioritize the essential areas that had to be addressed in order to continue business operations:
To start, Progent adhered to ransomware event mitigation industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and clearing infected systems. Progent then began the process of bringing back online Microsoft AD, the heart of enterprise environments built on Microsoft technology. Exchange email will not work without Active Directory, and the client's MRP applications utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which needs Windows AD for access to the information.
- Windows Active Directory
- Electronic Mail
- MRP System
Within two days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-penetration state. Progent then accomplished reinstallations and hard drive recovery of needed systems. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find non-encrypted OST data files (Outlook Email Off-Line Data Files) on various desktop computers to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the client's manufacturing software made them able to return these required services back servicing users. Although a large amount of work was left to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, critical services were restored rapidly:
"For the most part, the production operation ran fairly normal throughout and we produced all customer sales."
During the next month key milestones in the restoration process were made through tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:
- Self-hosted web sites were returned to operation without losing any information.
- The MailStore Exchange Server containing more than 4 million archived emails was spun up and available for users.
- CRM/Product Ordering/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control modules were completely functional.
- A new Palo Alto 850 firewall was deployed.
- Most of the desktop computers were being used by staff.
"A huge amount of what was accomplished those first few days is mostly a fog for me, but we will not soon forget the dedication each and every one of your team put in to help get our company back. I've been working with Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has come through and delivered as promised. This situation was a life saver."
A likely company-ending disaster was avoided due to hard-working experts, a wide array of technical expertise, and close teamwork. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus attack detailed here would have been disabled with up-to-date cyber security technology solutions and security best practices, user training, and well designed security procedures for information protection and applying software patches, the reality remains that government-sponsored cybercriminals from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's team of professionals has a proven track record in ransomware virus blocking, cleanup, and information systems disaster recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others who were contributing), thanks very much for allowing me to get rested after we made it past the initial push. Everyone did an fabulous job, and if any of your team is around the Chicago area, dinner is my treat!"
To read or download a PDF version of this customer case study, click:
Progent's Ryuk Virus Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in El Paso a portfolio of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate next-generation artificial intelligence technology to detect new variants of ransomware that can evade traditional signature-based anti-virus products.
For El Paso 24-Hour Ransomware Repair Services, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard physical and virtual endpoints against modern malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which easily evade traditional signature-based anti-virus tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to automate the entire threat progression including filtering, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time network-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 recovery.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer economical in-depth security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced heuristics for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device management, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible from a single console. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist you to design and implement a ProSight ESP deployment that meets your organization's unique requirements and that allows you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry data security standards. Progent will help you define and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alerts that call for urgent action. Progent can also assist your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has partnered with advanced backup/restore software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of offerings that provide backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS products manage and track your backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and fast recovery of vital files, applications, system images, plus VMs. ProSight DPS lets your business protect against data loss resulting from hardware failures, natural calamities, fire, malware like ransomware, user error, ill-intentioned employees, or software glitches. Managed backup services available in the ProSight Data Protection Services product line include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can help you to identify which of these managed 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 and email encryption service that uses the infrastructure of top information security companies to provide centralized control and world-class protection for all your email traffic. The powerful structure of Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises gateway appliance to offer advanced defense against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-based malware. The cloud filter serves as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your vulnerability to external threats and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway appliance adds a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The onsite gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to track and protect internal email that originates and ends inside your corporate firewall. For more details, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller businesses to map, track, optimize and troubleshoot their connectivity appliances like routers, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology maps are always updated, copies and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and generates alerts when issues are detected. By automating complex network management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores such as making network diagrams, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that require critical software patches, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management services.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring
ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to help keep your network operating efficiently by tracking the state of vital assets that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alert is sent automatically to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so all potential problems can be addressed before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.
- ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and applications hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a fast virtual host set up and managed by Progent's IT support experts. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting solution without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky configuration process. 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
ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that makes it easy to create, maintain, find and safeguard information about your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can quickly find passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your IT documentation, you can save up to 50% of time thrown away looking for vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common location 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 relating IT data. Whether you're making improvements, performing maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need when you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Active Defense Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection service that incorporates cutting edge behavior analysis tools to guard endpoints as well as servers and VMs against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade legacy signature-based anti-virus products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard local and cloud resources and offers a single platform to address the entire malware attack lifecycle including blocking, identification, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.
- Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
Progent's Call Center managed services allow your information technology staff to offload Help Desk services to Progent or split responsibilities for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support team and Progent's nationwide roster of certified IT support engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Service Desk provides a smooth extension of your corporate network support group. End user access to the Service Desk, provision of technical assistance, problem escalation, trouble ticket generation and tracking, performance metrics, and maintenance of the support database are consistent whether incidents are taken care of by your internal IT support group, by Progent, or by a combination. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Help Center services.
- Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of all sizes a versatile and affordable solution for assessing, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic IT network. In addition to maximizing the security and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's patch management services allow your in-house IT team to focus on more strategic projects and activities that deliver the highest business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
Progent's Duo MFA managed services incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against password theft by using two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification on iOS, Android, and other out-of-band devices. With Duo 2FA, when you sign into a protected application and enter your password you are requested to verify who you are via a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A broad range of devices can be utilized as this added means of authentication including an iPhone or Android or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You can register multiple verification devices. To find out more about Duo two-factor identity authentication services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.
- ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Applications
ProSight Reporting is a growing line of in-depth reporting tools designed to work with the industry's leading ticketing and network monitoring platforms such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize key issues like inconsistent support follow-through or machines with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.