Ransomware : Your Crippling IT Nightmare
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsRansomware has become an escalating cyber pandemic that represents an existential danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an attack. Multiple generations of ransomware such as Dharma, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for years and continue to cause havoc. Recent versions of crypto-ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Nephilim, along with additional unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of on-line critical data but also infect any accessible system protection mechanisms. Data synched to the cloud can also be corrupted. In a vulnerable system, it can make automated recovery impossible and effectively sets the entire system back to zero.

Restoring services and data after a crypto-ransomware outage becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization struggles to stop the spread and remove the crypto-ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical activity. Due to the fact that ransomware requires time to spread, attacks are often launched during weekends and nights, when successful penetrations in many cases take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of quickly mobilizing and coordinating a capable response team.

Progent provides a variety of support services for securing businesses from ransomware attacks. These include staff training to help identify and avoid phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of next-generation security appliances with artificial intelligence capabilities from SentinelOne to identify and extinguish new cyber attacks intelligently. Progent in addition can provide the assistance of expert ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and perseverance to restore a compromised environment as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Help
After a crypto-ransomware penetration, even paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that merciless criminals will provide the needed codes to decipher any or all of your files. Kaspersky Labs estimated that seventeen percent 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 commonly range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be around $13,000. The fallback is to setup from scratch the vital parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of complete information backups, this requires a broad range of skill sets, top notch team management, and the ability to work continuously until the task is finished.

For decades, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for companies in Greensboro and throughout the US and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes consultants who have earned top industry certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial management and ERP applications. This breadth of experience provides Progent the capability to efficiently identify critical systems and consolidate the surviving components of your network environment after a ransomware event and configure them into a functioning system.

Progent's security group utilizes best of breed project management applications to coordinate the complex restoration process. Progent understands the importance of acting rapidly and in concert with a customerÔŅĹs management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to get essential services back online as fast as possible.

Client Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Recovery
A business hired Progent after their company was taken over by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is believed to have been created by Northern Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting techniques exposed from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific organizations with limited room for disruption and is one of the most lucrative versions of ransomware malware. Major victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk penetration had disabled all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's data backups had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were damaged. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (more than $200,000) and praying for good luck, but in the end brought in Progent.


"I cannot say enough about the support Progent gave us throughout the most fearful time of (our) businesses life. We most likely would have paid the cyber criminals except for the confidence the Progent team provided us. That you were able to get our messaging and production applications back into operation in less than five days was earth shattering. Every single person I talked with or e-mailed at Progent was totally committed on getting us working again and was working at all hours on our behalf."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly identify and assign priority to the mission critical elements that had to be restored to make it possible to resume company operations:

  • Active Directory (AD)
  • Email
  • Financials/MRP
To start, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes penetration response industry best practices by halting lateral movement and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then began the task of recovering Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built on Microsoft technology. Exchange email will not work without AD, and the client's financials and MRP applications leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which needs Active Directory services for authentication to the database.

In less than 2 days, Progent was able to recover Windows Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then assisted with rebuilding and hard drive recovery on needed servers. All Exchange Server ties and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to find intact OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on user desktop computers in order to recover email data. A not too old offline backup of the client's financials/ERP software made them able to recover these vital applications back online. Although significant work needed to be completed to recover fully from the Ryuk event, essential services were returned to operations rapidly:


"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation was never shut down and we did not miss any customer sales."

During the following month key milestones in the recovery process were accomplished through tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Internal web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server with over 4 million archived emails was restored to operations and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory modules were fully operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • Nearly all of the desktops and laptops were operational.

"A huge amount of what transpired during the initial response is mostly a haze for me, but my management will not forget the care all of your team put in to help get our business back. I have been working together with Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This situation was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A potential business-killing disaster was evaded by hard-working experts, a wide array of technical expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in hindsight the ransomware incident described here should have been identified and blocked with modern cyber security technology and ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, user training, and properly executed incident response procedures for data 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 tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware attack, remember that Progent's roster of experts has substantial experience in crypto-ransomware virus blocking, removal, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were contributing), thanks very much for letting me get rested after we got through the first week. Everyone did an impressive job, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Greensboro a portfolio of remote monitoring and security assessment services to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services incorporate modern artificial intelligence technology to detect new variants of crypto-ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based security products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoints against new malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by traditional signature-based AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud-based resources and provides a single platform to manage the complete threat progression including blocking, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Progent is a certified SentinelOne Partner. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services deliver economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, workstations, smartphones, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced machine learning for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP provides firewall protection, penetration alarms, endpoint management, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies packaged within a single agent accessible from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization consultants can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's specific needs and that allows you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information security regulations. Progent will help you specify and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that call for immediate action. Progent's consultants can also assist you to install and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with advanced backup software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a selection of subscription-based offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your backup processes and enable non-disruptive backup and fast restoration of critical files, applications, images, and virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you recover from data loss caused by hardware breakdown, natural calamities, fire, malware such as ransomware, user mistakes, malicious employees, or application glitches. Managed backup services in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight Ataro VM Backup, ProSight Ataro Office 365 Backup, ProSight DPS ECHO Backup using Barracuda purpose-built hardware, and ProSight DPS MSP360 Cloud and On-prem Backup. Your Progent consultant can assist you to determine 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 filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the infrastructure of leading information security companies to deliver centralized control and comprehensive security for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard combines cloud-based filtering with a local gateway device to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs), and other email-based malware. The Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and keeps most unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to external threats and saves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite gateway appliance provides a deeper layer of inspection for incoming email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway offers AV and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that stays within your corporate firewall. For more information, visit Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller organizations to diagram, track, enhance and troubleshoot their networking appliances like switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, client computers and other networked devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are kept current, copies and manages the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are detected. By automating complex management processes, WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating devices that need important software patches, or isolating performance problems. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management technology to keep your network operating at peak levels by tracking the health of vital assets that power your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alarm is sent automatically to your specified IT management staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so any looming issues can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size business can have its key servers and apps hosted in a secure Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual machine host configured and managed by Progent's IT support professionals. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware environment without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied one hosting service. Learn more details about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is an IT infrastructure documentation management service that makes it easy to create, maintain, find and safeguard data related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be warned about upcoming expirations of SSLs or domains. By cleaning up and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can eliminate as much as 50% of time thrown away looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for holding and sharing all documents required for managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and relating IT information. Whether youíre planning improvements, performing maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you require when 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 Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to guard endpoint devices and physical and virtual servers against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by traditional signature-matching AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services protect on-premises and cloud resources and provides a single platform to automate the entire threat lifecycle including protection, detection, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows VSS and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Service Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Center managed services allow your information technology team to offload Help Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support seamlessly between your internal support team and Progent's nationwide roster of certified IT support engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Shared Service Desk offers a transparent extension of your core support team. Client access to the Help Desk, delivery of support, issue escalation, ticket generation and tracking, efficiency measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive regardless of whether issues are taken care of by your corporate IT support organization, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Read more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Call Desk services.

  • Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide businesses of any size a versatile and cost-effective alternative for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and documenting software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving information system. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your computer environment, Progent's software/firmware update management services allow your in-house IT team to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and tasks that derive the highest business value from your network. Learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Identity Validation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo authentication service plans utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against stolen passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity confirmation with Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a protected application and give your password you are requested to confirm who you are on a device that only you possess and that is accessed using a separate network channel. A wide selection of devices can be used for this second form of ID validation such as an iPhone or Android or watch, a hardware/software token, a landline phone, etc. You may designate multiple verification devices. To learn more about Duo two-factor identity authentication services, refer to Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.
For 24x7 Greensboro Ransomware Cleanup Consulting, contact Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.