Ransomware : Your Worst IT Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become an escalating cyberplague that represents an existential danger for businesses of all sizes vulnerable to an assault. Different versions of ransomware like the Reveton, CryptoWall, Locky, NotPetya and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for a long time and still cause havoc. Recent variants of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, LockBit or Nephilim, as well as daily as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt online files but also infect any accessible system backups. Data synchronized to cloud environments can also be ransomed. In a poorly designed data protection solution, this can render automatic restore operations useless and effectively knocks the entire system back to zero.

Getting back online programs and data after a ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against time as the victim tries its best to stop lateral movement and clear the ransomware and to resume enterprise-critical operations. Because ransomware needs time to replicate, attacks are frequently launched during nights and weekends, when successful attacks are likely to take longer to discover. This compounds the difficulty of rapidly assembling and orchestrating a qualified mitigation team.

Progent provides a range of services for protecting enterprises from ransomware attacks. These include team member training to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, plus deployment of next-generation security appliances with artificial intelligence technology from SentinelOne to detect and quarantine zero-day cyber attacks rapidly. Progent also can provide the assistance of experienced ransomware recovery professionals with the talent and perseverance to rebuild a compromised network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
After a ransomware penetration, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that distant criminals will respond with the keys to decipher all your data. Kaspersky Labs ascertained that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never restored their data after having paid the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be approximately $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the critical parts of your Information Technology environment. Without the availability of full data backups, this requires a broad range of skills, professional project management, and the capability to work non-stop until the recovery project is complete.

For two decades, Progent has made available certified expert Information Technology services for companies in Huntington Beach and throughout the U.S. and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts includes professionals who have attained high-level certifications in key technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity consultants have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP-ISSAP, ISACA CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the ability to quickly determine necessary systems and integrate the remaining parts of your computer network system after a crypto-ransomware event and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's security group utilizes top notch project management systems to coordinate the complicated restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of acting quickly and together with a customer's management and IT resources to prioritize tasks and to put the most important applications back on line as fast as possible.

Customer Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Attack Recovery
A client hired Progent after their network system was attacked by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been created by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, suspected of adopting approaches exposed from America's NSA organization. Ryuk seeks specific organizations with little tolerance for disruption and is one of the most profitable examples of crypto-ransomware. Well Known victims include Data Resolution, a California-based information warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a single-location manufacturing business located in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 workers. The Ryuk penetration had frozen all business operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's information backups had been on-line at the time of the intrusion and were encrypted. The client was taking steps for paying the ransom demand (exceeding $200K) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end engaged Progent.


"I can't thank you enough about the care Progent gave us throughout the most stressful period of (our) businesses life. We most likely would have paid the cybercriminals if it wasn't for the confidence the Progent team provided us. That you could get our e-mail and key servers back faster than seven days was something I thought impossible. Every single consultant I got help from or texted at Progent was urgently focused on getting our company operational and was working non-stop to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the customer to rapidly get our arms around and assign priority to the key elements that had to be recovered in order to resume company operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Email
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To begin, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes penetration mitigation industry best practices by halting the spread and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then initiated the task of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the key technology of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not function without AD, and the businesses' accounting and MRP applications utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which depends on Active Directory for access to the databases.

In less than two days, Progent was able to rebuild Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then performed rebuilding and storage recovery of key servers. All Exchange Server schema and configuration information were usable, which facilitated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to collect local OST data files (Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on staff workstations and laptops to recover mail messages. A recent off-line backup of the customer's accounting/ERP software made it possible to restore these required services back online. Although significant work was left to recover fully from the Ryuk event, essential systems were returned to operations quickly:


"For the most part, the production line operation never missed a beat and we delivered all customer deliverables."

During the following month key milestones in the restoration process were accomplished in tight cooperation between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Internal web sites were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server exceeding 4 million historical messages was brought on-line and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/AP/AR/Inventory modules were fully recovered.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought online.
  • Most of the user PCs were functioning as before the incident.

"Much of what happened that first week is mostly a fog for me, but my management will not soon forget the care each of the team accomplished to help get our business back. I have utilized Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and each time Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This situation was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A possible business disaster was evaded by top-tier experts, a broad spectrum of knowledge, and close collaboration. Although upon completion of forensics the ransomware incident described here should have been identified and stopped with modern security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework best practices, user and IT administrator education, and well designed incident response procedures for information backup and proper patching controls, the fact is that state-sponsored cybercriminals from China, North Korea and elsewhere are tireless and are not going away. If you do fall victim to a ransomware penetration, feel confident that Progent's roster of professionals has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and information systems recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen and Tony (along with others who were helping), thank you for letting me get rested after we got over the first week. All of you did an incredible job, and if anyone is in the Chicago area, dinner is on me!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent can provide companies in Huntington Beach a portfolio of online monitoring and security assessment services to help you to minimize your vulnerability to crypto-ransomware. These services include modern machine learning technology to uncover new variants of ransomware that can escape detection by traditional signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection service that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior machine learning tools to guard physical and virtual endpoints against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily evade legacy signature-based AV tools. ProSight Active Security Monitoring safeguards on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to automate the entire threat progression including filtering, detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-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 recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services offer economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and VMs, workstations, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and reacting to security threats from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, intrusion alerts, device control, and web filtering via cutting-edge technologies incorporated within one agent managed from a unified control. Progent's security and virtualization experts can help your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's specific needs and that helps you demonstrate compliance with government and industry data security regulations. Progent will assist you specify and configure security policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and respond to alerts that require urgent attention. Progent's consultants can also help your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery system such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can get back in business rapidly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack such as ransomware. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery Services
    Progent has partnered with advanced backup technology companies to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS services manage and monitor your data backup processes and allow transparent backup and fast recovery of critical files/folders, apps, system images, and VMs. ProSight DPS helps you avoid data loss resulting from equipment failures, natural calamities, fire, cyber attacks such as ransomware, user error, malicious insiders, or application bugs. Managed backup services in the ProSight DPS portfolio 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 service representative can help you to determine which of these fully managed services are most appropriate for your IT environment.

  • 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 uses the technology of top data security companies to provide web-based control and comprehensive security for your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with a local security gateway appliance to provide complete defense against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-borne threats. Email Guard's cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and blocks the vast majority of unwanted email from making it to your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's onsite security gateway appliance provides a deeper level of analysis for inbound email. For outbound email, the local gateway offers AV and anti-spam filtering, protection against data leaks, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to track and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it easy and affordable for small and mid-sized organizations to map out, monitor, reconfigure and debug their networking hardware such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge RMM technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept current, copies and manages the configuration information of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when issues are discovered. By automating complex network management activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding appliances that require critical updates, or identifying the cause of performance problems. Find out more details 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 uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your network running efficiently by checking the state of critical assets that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers an issue, an alarm is sent immediately to your specified IT staff and your Progent consultant so that all potential problems can be addressed before they can impact productivity. Find out more about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its key servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's network support professionals. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the OS platforms, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be moved immediately to an alternate hosting environment without a time-consuming and technically risky reinstallation procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into one hosting provider. Learn more about ProSight Virtual Hosting services.

  • ProSight IT Asset Management: Network Documentation Management
    Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service is a cloud-based IT documentation management service that makes it easy to create, maintain, find and safeguard information related to your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSL certificates or warranties. By updating and managing your IT documentation, you can eliminate up to 50% of time spent trying to find vital information about your IT network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for holding and sharing all documents related to managing your network infrastructure such as standard operating procedures and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers advanced automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether you're planning enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you require when you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Active Defense Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Remediation
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) managed service that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to defend endpoint devices as well as physical and virtual servers against modern malware attacks like ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape traditional signature-based AV tools. Progent ASM services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and provides a single platform to manage the entire malware attack lifecycle including filtering, detection, mitigation, remediation, and forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and recovery services.

  • Outsourced/Co-managed Call Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Call Center services enable your IT team to outsource Call Center services to Progent or divide activity for Help Desk services seamlessly between your internal support staff and Progent's nationwide pool of IT service engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Shared Help Desk Service offers a seamless supplement to your internal network support group. End user access to the Help Desk, provision of support services, escalation, trouble ticket creation and updates, performance measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether incidents are resolved by your core network support organization, by Progent's team, or by a combination. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/co-managed Service Center services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's support services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of all sizes a versatile and affordable alternative for assessing, testing, scheduling, implementing, and tracking software and firmware updates to your ever-evolving IT system. Besides maximizing the protection and reliability of your IT network, Progent's patch management services free up time for your in-house IT staff to concentrate on line-of-business projects and activities that derive the highest business value from your network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.

  • ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Secure Single Sign-on
    Progent's Duo MFA service plans utilize Cisco's Duo cloud technology to protect against compromised passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity confirmation on Apple iOS, Google Android, and other out-of-band devices. With 2FA, when you sign into a protected online account and give your password you are asked to verify who you are on a device that only you have and that uses a separate network channel. A broad range of out-of-band devices can be utilized as this second means of ID validation including an iPhone or Android or watch, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register several verification devices. For details about ProSight Duo two-factor identity authentication services, go to Duo MFA two-factor authentication services.

  • ProSight Reporting: Real-time and In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing suite of in-depth reporting plug-ins designed to integrate with the industry's top ticketing and network monitoring applications such as ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and features color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues such as inconsistent support follow-up or endpoints with missing patches. By exposing ticketing or network health problems concisely and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves network value, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For details, see ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring applications.
For Huntington Beach 24-Hour CryptoLocker Recovery Consultants, reach out to Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.