Ransomware : Your Feared IT Disaster
Ransomware  Remediation ConsultantsCrypto-Ransomware has become a too-frequent cyber pandemic that presents an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an assault. Different versions of crypto-ransomware such as Dharma, Fusob, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and continue to cause damage. The latest versions of crypto-ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Conti or Egregor, along with daily as yet unnamed malware, not only encrypt online information but also infiltrate all accessible system restores and backups. Information synched to cloud environments can also be ransomed. In a vulnerable environment, it can render any restore operations impossible and basically knocks the entire system back to zero.

Getting back on-line programs and information after a ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against time as the targeted business struggles to contain and remove the virus and to restore mission-critical activity. Because crypto-ransomware needs time to move laterally, penetrations are often launched during weekends and nights, when penetrations tend to take more time to discover. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and organizing a capable mitigation team.

Progent has a range of services for protecting organizations from crypto-ransomware events. These include team training to help recognize and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of modern security appliances with artificial intelligence capabilities from SentinelOne to discover and quarantine day-zero cyber attacks automatically. Progent also provides the services of expert ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and commitment to rebuild a compromised network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Restoration Services
Soon after a ransomware event, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that cyber criminals will return the codes to unencrypt any or all of your information. Kaspersky Labs determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their data even after having paid the ransom, resulting in increased losses. The gamble is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly higher than the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be around $13,000. The other path is to setup from scratch the vital components of your Information Technology environment. Without access to complete data backups, this requires a broad complement of IT skills, well-coordinated team management, and the willingness to work 24x7 until the recovery project is completed.

For decades, Progent has offered professional Information Technology services for businesses in Sherman Oaks and across the U.S. and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have earned advanced industry certifications in leading technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security consultants have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISA, CISSP-ISSAP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise in financial management and ERP application software. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to quickly ascertain necessary systems and re-organize the surviving parts of your network environment following a ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's security team of experts uses best of breed project management systems to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent knows the importance of acting swiftly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to put key applications back on-line as fast as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A business engaged Progent after their network was crashed by the Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by Northern Korean government sponsored hackers, possibly adopting techniques leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific companies with little ability to sustain disruption and is among the most lucrative examples of ransomware. Well Known targets include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturing company headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk intrusion had frozen all essential operations and manufacturing capabilities. Most of the client's data backups had been on-line at the time of the attack and were damaged. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200K) and praying for the best, but in the end reached out to Progent.


"I cannot speak enough in regards to the care Progent provided us during the most stressful period of (our) businesses life. We would have paid the cyber criminals behind the attack if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. The fact that you could get our e-mail and important applications back into operation quicker than a week was amazing. Each staff member I spoke to or e-mailed at Progent was laser focused on getting us working again and was working non-stop on our behalf."

Progent worked with the customer to rapidly determine and prioritize the mission critical elements that needed to be recovered to make it possible to resume company operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To begin, Progent adhered to Anti-virus penetration response industry best practices by halting the spread and performing virus removal steps. Progent then began the task of bringing back online Windows Active Directory, the core of enterprise systems built on Microsoft Windows technology. Exchange email will not operate without Windows AD, and the businesses' MRP system used SQL Server, which requires Active Directory services for security authorization to the database.

In less than two days, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory services to its pre-penetration state. Progent then initiated setup and hard drive recovery on key applications. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate intact OST files (Outlook Offline Folder Files) on staff desktop computers and laptops in order to recover email data. A not too old offline backup of the businesses manufacturing systems made them able to recover these vital services back on-line. Although a lot of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk event, critical systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation ran fairly normal throughout and we made all customer orders."

During the next month important milestones in the recovery process were made in tight collaboration between Progent consultants and the client:

  • In-house web applications were brought back up with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server with over 4 million historical emails was spun up and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables/Inventory functions were completely recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • 90% of the desktops and laptops were functioning as before the incident.

"A lot of what went on in the initial days is mostly a blur for me, but my team will not soon forget the dedication each of you accomplished to give us our business back. I have entrusted Progent for the past 10 years, possibly more, and each time Progent has come through and delivered. This situation was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A potential business-ending disaster was avoided through the efforts of results-oriented professionals, a wide array of subject matter expertise, and tight collaboration. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware virus penetration detailed here should have been identified and disabled with modern cyber security solutions and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, user and IT administrator training, and well thought out incident response procedures for information backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality is that government-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and are not going away. If you do get hit by a ransomware incursion, remember that Progent's team of experts has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and data restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Chris (and any others that were contributing), thanks very much for letting me get some sleep after we made it over the first week. All of you did an amazing job, and if anyone is visiting the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide companies in Sherman Oaks a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to reduce your vulnerability to ransomware. These services utilize modern artificial intelligence capability to uncover zero-day strains of 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 is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that utilizes SentinelOne's next generation behavior-based machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely escape legacy signature-based AV products. ProSight ASM safeguards on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to manage the entire threat progression including blocking, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include one-click rollback using Windows VSS and automatic network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, dealer, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Protection and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services offer affordable multi-layer security for physical servers and VMs, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced heuristics for continuously monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all vectors. ProSight ESP offers two-way firewall protection, penetration alerts, endpoint management, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a single control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can assist you to design and implement a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's specific requirements and that helps you prove compliance with legal and industry information protection regulations. Progent will help you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that require immediate attention. Progent can also help your company to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution like ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with leading backup software providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS), a family of subscription-based offerings that deliver backup-as-a-service. ProSight DPS services manage and track your data backup processes and allow non-disruptive backup and fast recovery of important files/folders, applications, images, and VMs. ProSight DPS helps you protect against data loss resulting from hardware breakdown, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks like ransomware, user error, malicious employees, or application bugs. Managed services in the ProSight Data Protection Services product family 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 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent expert can assist you to determine which of these fully managed backup services are best suited for your IT environment.

  • 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 top data security companies to provide centralized management and world-class protection for all your email traffic. The hybrid architecture of Progent's Email Guard managed service combines a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway device to offer complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, Directory Harvest Attacks, and other email-borne malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and keeps most threats from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your exposure to inbound attacks and saves system bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway device provides a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the on-premises gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also help Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more details, see Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for smaller organizations to map out, track, optimize and debug their networking appliances such as switches, firewalls, and access points plus servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept current, captures and displays the configuration of almost all devices on your network, tracks performance, and sends alerts when problems are discovered. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting processes, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary chores like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating appliances that require important updates, or resolving performance problems. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and 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 operating efficiently by tracking the health of vital computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alert is transmitted immediately to your designated IT management staff and your Progent engineering consultant so that any potential issues can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring services.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs 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 apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual machine host set up and managed by Progent's network support experts. With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the customer retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported immediately to a different hosting environment without a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied a single hosting service. Find out more 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 IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be alerted automatically about impending expirations of SSLs or domains. By cleaning up and organizing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to 50% of time spent looking for critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a centralized location for storing and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as recommended procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and associating IT information. Whether you're making enhancements, performing maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the information you require as soon as you need it. Find out more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: AI-based Ransomware Detection and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to defend endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily evade traditional signature-based AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard local and cloud resources and offers a single platform to manage the entire malware attack progression including filtering, detection, mitigation, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered attacks. Find out more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Help Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Help Desk managed services allow your information technology staff to offload Support Desk services to Progent or split activity for Service Desk support transparently between your in-house network support team and Progent's extensive pool of IT support engineers and subject matter experts (SMEs). Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service provides a seamless supplement to your in-house IT support resources. Client access to the Service Desk, delivery of support services, problem escalation, trouble ticket creation and tracking, efficiency measurement, and management of the service database are cohesive whether issues are taken care of by your internal support group, by Progent, or both. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Call Center services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Patch Management Services
    Progent's managed services for patch management provide businesses of all sizes a versatile and cost-effective solution for assessing, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your ever-evolving information network. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your computer network, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your in-house IT team to concentrate on line-of-business initiatives and activities that deliver the highest business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Remediation, and Protected Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against stolen passwords through the use of two-factor authentication. Duo supports single-tap identity confirmation on Apple iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using 2FA, whenever you sign into a secured online account and enter your password you are asked to confirm who you are via a device that only you have and that uses a different ("out-of-band") network channel. A wide range of devices can be utilized as this added form of ID validation including a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You can designate multiple verification devices. For details about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, refer to Cisco 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 an expanding suite of real-time and in-depth management reporting utilities designed to integrate with the industry's leading ticketing and network monitoring applications including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to surface and contextualize key issues such as spotty support follow-up or endpoints with out-of-date AVs. By exposing ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves productivity, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For 24x7 Sherman Oaks Crypto Removal Support Services, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.