Crypto-Ransomware : Your Crippling Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for organizations vulnerable to an assault. Multiple generations of ransomware like the Reveton, Fusob, Bad Rabbit, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been out in the wild for years and continue to cause havoc. Modern variants of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, plus more as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online data but also infiltrate all available system protection. Information replicated to the cloud can also be rendered useless. In a poorly designed environment, this can render any restoration useless and effectively sets the network back to zero.

Getting back on-line applications and information following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against time as the targeted business struggles to contain the damage and cleanup the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical activity. Since ransomware needs time to move laterally, penetrations are often sprung during weekends and nights, when attacks tend to take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and orchestrating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent makes available a variety of help services for protecting enterprises from crypto-ransomware attacks. These include user training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security appliances with machine learning capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and quarantine new threats automatically. Progent in addition provides the services of seasoned ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and perseverance to re-deploy a compromised system as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Following a ransomware event, paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not guarantee that merciless criminals will provide the needed codes to decrypt any or all of your information. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The gamble is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be approximately $13,000. The alternative is to piece back together the essential elements of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of essential information backups, this calls for a wide range of skill sets, top notch project management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the recovery project is completed.

For two decades, Progent has offered expert IT services for companies in Garland and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have been awarded high-level certifications in important technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience in financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise provides Progent the capability to rapidly understand necessary systems and consolidate the remaining parts of your Information Technology environment after a crypto-ransomware attack and configure them into a functioning network.

Progent's ransomware team uses top notch project management applications to orchestrate the sophisticated recovery process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working rapidly and in concert with a customer's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to get key applications back on line as soon as humanly possible.

Client Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Restoration
A business sought out Progent after their network system was brought down by the Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, suspected of using strategies exposed from America's National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific businesses with little ability to sustain operational disruption and is among the most lucrative incarnations of crypto-ransomware. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing company located in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk intrusion had disabled all company operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's system backups had been on-line at the beginning of the intrusion and were damaged. The client considered paying the ransom (more than $200K) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end called Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough about the support Progent gave us during the most stressful time of (our) businesses life. We may have had to pay the cyber criminals behind the attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent experts provided us. That you could get our e-mail and critical applications back on-line in less than one week was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single expert I worked with or e-mailed at Progent was absolutely committed on getting my company operational and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly understand and assign priority to the critical systems that needed to be recovered in order to restart departmental functions:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Accounting/MRP
To begin, Progent followed Anti-virus event response industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then initiated the process of bringing back online Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Windows AD, and the client's accounting and MRP applications leveraged SQL Server, which needs Active Directory services for authentication to the information.

In less than two days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory services to its pre-virus state. Progent then charged ahead with rebuilding and storage recovery on key applications. All Exchange data and configuration information were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to collect local OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on staff desktop computers in order to recover mail data. A recent off-line backup of the customer's financials/ERP systems made them able to recover these essential programs back servicing users. Although a lot of work needed to be completed to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, essential systems were recovered rapidly:


"For the most part, the production operation ran fairly normal throughout and we did not miss any customer shipments."

During the following couple of weeks important milestones in the restoration process were achieved through tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the client:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than 4 million historical messages was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory modules were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was brought on-line.
  • Nearly all of the user PCs were back into operation.

"Much of what occurred that first week is nearly entirely a blur for me, but our team will not soon forget the urgency each of your team put in to give us our company back. I've been working with Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This time was a life saver."

Conclusion
A probable enterprise-killing catastrophe was avoided through the efforts of dedicated professionals, a broad array of technical expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware attack described here could have been prevented with current cyber security systems and security best practices, user training, and properly executed incident response procedures for information backup and applying software patches, the reality is that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, feel confident that Progent's team of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus defense, removal, and data restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others who were involved), thanks very much for making it so I could get rested after we got through the initial push. Everyone did an fabulous effort, and if any of your team is in the Chicago area, a great meal is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Garland a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize next-generation machine learning technology to detect zero-day strains of crypto-ransomware that are able to escape detection by legacy signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by legacy signature-based AV products. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to address the complete malware attack progression including protection, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Key features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services offer economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and VMs, workstations, mobile devices, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint control, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies packaged within a single agent managed from a unified control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can assist your business to plan and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your company's specific needs and that allows you prove compliance with government and industry information security standards. Progent will assist you specify and configure policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alarms that require immediate attention. Progent can also assist your company to install and verify a backup and disaster recovery system like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a potentially disastrous security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with advanced backup/restore software providers to produce ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a portfolio of subscription-based management offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products manage and monitor your backup operations and allow non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of important files, applications, images, and Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps your business protect against data loss resulting from hardware breakdown, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, human error, malicious employees, or application bugs. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS product line include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight DPS ECHO Backup based on Barracuda dedicated hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent service representative can assist you to identify which of these fully 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 and virus filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the technology of top data security companies to deliver web-based control and world-class protection for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with a local gateway appliance to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-borne threats. Email Guard's cloud filter serves as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of threats from making it to your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to external threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device adds a further level of inspection for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway offers AV and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email that originates and ends within your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it easy and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to map out, monitor, reconfigure and troubleshoot their connectivity hardware such as switches, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are kept current, copies and manages the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when potential issues are discovered. By automating tedious network management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary tasks like making network diagrams, expanding your network, finding devices that need critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop 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 keep your IT system running at peak levels by checking the state of vital computers that drive your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch detects an issue, an alarm is transmitted automatically to your designated IT management staff and your Progent engineering consultant so any potential issues can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Learn more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a secure fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual machine host set up and maintained by Progent's network support professionals. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hosting solution without a time-consuming and difficult reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one hosting provider. 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 allows you to capture, maintain, find and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned about impending expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By updating and organizing your network documentation, you can eliminate up to half of time wasted trying to find critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a centralized repository for holding and sharing all documents required for managing your business network such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) 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 responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the information you require as soon as you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Detection and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that incorporates next generation behavior machine learning technology to guard endpoint devices and servers and VMs against new malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which routinely escape traditional signature-matching anti-virus products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to automate the complete threat lifecycle including protection, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and automatic system-wide immunization against new threats. Find out more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Desk managed services allow your IT staff to outsource Help Desk services to Progent or divide activity for Help Desk services seamlessly between your in-house network support group and Progent's extensive pool of certified IT support technicians, engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Service Desk offers a seamless supplement to your core network support staff. End user access to the Service Desk, delivery of technical assistance, issue escalation, trouble ticket generation and updates, efficiency measurement, and management of the service database are cohesive whether issues are resolved by your corporate IT support organization, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Learn more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Service Center services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management offer businesses of any size a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, applying, and tracking software and firmware updates to your dynamic IT system. In addition to optimizing the protection and functionality of your computer environment, Progent's patch management services allow your in-house IT staff to concentrate on more strategic projects and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your information network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against password theft by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity confirmation on iOS, Google Android, and other personal devices. With 2FA, when you log into a protected online account and enter your password you are asked to confirm who you are on a unit that only you possess and that uses a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A wide range 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 several verification devices. For details about ProSight Duo identity validation services, go to 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 a growing line of real-time and in-depth reporting utilities created to work with the top ticketing and network monitoring platforms including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues such as spotty support follow-through or endpoints with missing patches. By identifying 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 applications.
For 24-Hour Garland Crypto-Ransomware Remediation Support Services, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.