Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware  Recovery ConsultantsCrypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that presents an extinction-level threat for businesses of all sizes poorly prepared for an assault. Different iterations of ransomware like the CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Locky, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for a long time and still cause destruction. Recent strains of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Snatch or Egregor, as well as more as yet unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of online critical data but also infiltrate all available system protection. Data synchronized to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be ransomed. In a vulnerable data protection solution, it can make automated restoration hopeless and effectively knocks the network back to zero.

Retrieving services and information after a crypto-ransomware event becomes a race against the clock as the targeted organization fights to contain the damage and remove the ransomware and to restore enterprise-critical activity. Since ransomware takes time to move laterally, attacks are frequently sprung on weekends and holidays, when attacks may take longer to discover. This multiplies the difficulty of promptly marshalling and coordinating a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent has an assortment of solutions for protecting enterprises from ransomware penetrations. These include user training to become familiar with and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of the latest generation security gateways with artificial intelligence technology from SentinelOne to discover and quarantine new cyber threats rapidly. Progent also offers the assistance of expert crypto-ransomware recovery professionals with the skills and perseverance to reconstruct a compromised environment as quickly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Following a ransomware attack, sending the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not ensure that distant criminals will provide the needed codes to unencrypt any or all of your files. Kaspersky estimated that seventeen percent of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their data after having sent off the ransom, resulting in more losses. The risk is also very costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is greatly higher than the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to re-install the essential components of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of essential information backups, this requires a broad complement of skills, well-coordinated team management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the task is done.

For two decades, Progent has provided professional IT services for businesses in Minneapolis and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's team of subject matter experts includes consultants who have earned top certifications in foundation technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cyber security experts have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with financial systems and ERP application software. This breadth of experience provides Progent the skills to rapidly identify critical systems and re-organize the surviving components of your computer network system following a ransomware attack and configure them into a functioning network.

Progent's security team deploys state-of-the-art project management tools to coordinate the complicated recovery process. Progent understands the urgency of working quickly and in concert with a client's management and IT staff to assign priority to tasks and to put essential applications back online as fast as humanly possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Ransomware Incident Restoration
A small business escalated to Progent after their company was taken over by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been deployed by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting algorithms exposed from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk attacks specific companies with little or no ability to sustain operational disruption and is one of the most profitable instances of ransomware viruses. High publicized targets include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a regional manufacturing business headquartered in the Chicago metro area with about 500 staff members. The Ryuk event had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's backups had been online at the start of the attack and were encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (in excess of $200,000) and hoping for the best, but in the end utilized Progent.


"I can't thank you enough in regards to the expertise Progent gave us during the most fearful time of (our) company's existence. We had little choice but to pay the Hackers except for the confidence the Progent group gave us. The fact that you could get our messaging and critical applications back on-line faster than five days was something I thought impossible. Every single consultant I worked with or communicated with at Progent was urgently focused on getting our company operational and was working non-stop to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to quickly assess and assign priority to the mission critical areas that needed to be addressed to make it possible to restart departmental operations:

  • Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Accounting and Manufacturing Software
To begin, Progent followed ransomware penetration mitigation best practices by halting lateral movement and clearing up compromised systems. Progent then initiated the steps of rebuilding Active Directory, the core of enterprise networks built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not work without Windows AD, and the client's accounting and MRP system utilized Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for authentication to the data.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to re-build Active Directory to its pre-penetration state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery of mission critical servers. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which accelerated the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble local OST data files (Outlook Email Offline Data Files) on team desktop computers and laptops to recover mail data. A not too old off-line backup of the businesses financials/ERP software made them able to restore these vital services back online for users. Although significant work remained to recover fully from the Ryuk attack, critical services were restored rapidly:


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

During the following couple of weeks important milestones in the recovery process were accomplished in close cooperation between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web sites were restored with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding 4 million archived emails was brought online and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoices/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control capabilities were 100% functional.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • Ninety percent of the user workstations were being used by staff.

"A lot of what was accomplished during the initial response is nearly entirely a blur for me, but my management will not forget the countless hours each of your team put in to give us our business back. I have entrusted Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and every time Progent has outperformed my expectations and delivered. This event was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A potential business catastrophe was avoided due to top-tier professionals, a wide array of IT skills, and close teamwork. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the crypto-ransomware virus penetration detailed here would have been identified and blocked with current security solutions and recognized best practices, user and IT administrator education, and well thought out security procedures for data backup and applying software 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 fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of experts has a proven track record in ransomware virus defense, cleanup, and data disaster recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were involved), thank you for allowing me to get rested after we got through the most critical parts. All of you did an fabulous effort, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Minneapolis a range of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to help you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services include next-generation machine learning capability to uncover new strains of ransomware that can evade traditional signature-based anti-virus products.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that utilizes SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which easily escape legacy signature-matching AV products. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a single platform to automate the complete threat lifecycle including blocking, infiltration detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and real-time system-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
    ProSight Enhanced Security Protection managed services offer economical multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and advanced machine learning for continuously monitoring and reacting to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP offers firewall protection, penetration alarms, device management, and web filtering via leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help you to plan and implement a ProSight ESP environment that meets your company's unique needs and that allows you prove compliance with government and industry data security standards. Progent will help you specify and implement policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that require immediate action. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to install and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover quickly from a destructive cyber attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Services
    Progent has worked with advanced backup/restore software companies to produce ProSight Data Protection Services, a family of subscription-based offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products automate and monitor your data backup operations and enable transparent backup and fast recovery of important files/folders, applications, system images, and virtual machines. ProSight DPS helps you recover from data loss resulting from equipment breakdown, natural disasters, fire, malware like ransomware, human mistakes, malicious insiders, or application glitches. Managed backup services in the ProSight Data Protection Services portfolio include ProSight DPS Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight 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 and virus filtering and email encryption service that uses the technology of top data security companies to deliver web-based management and world-class security for your email traffic. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises security gateway device to offer advanced protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service 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 network firewall. This reduces your vulnerability to external threats and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device adds a further level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the onsite security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The on-premises gateway can also assist Microsoft Exchange Server to track and safeguard internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, visit Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progent's ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it easy and inexpensive for smaller businesses to map out, monitor, reconfigure and debug their connectivity appliances such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, WAN Watch makes sure that infrastructure topology diagrams are kept updated, copies and displays the configuration of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when issues are discovered. By automating time-consuming management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can knock hours off common chores such as network mapping, expanding your network, locating appliances that need critical software patches, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Find out more about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop monitoring managed service that incorporates advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to help keep your network operating at peak levels by tracking the state of critical assets that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is sent automatically to your specified IT management personnel and your Progent consultant so that any potential issues can be resolved before they have a chance to impact your network. Learn more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop remote monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted Virtual Machines at Progent's World-class Data Center
    With Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small organization can have its key servers and apps hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a fast virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support professionals. With the ProSight Virtual Hosting model, the client owns the data, the OS platforms, and the applications. Since the environment is virtualized, it can be moved easily to an alternate hardware solution without requiring a time-consuming and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting provider. Find out more 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, update, retrieve and protect data about your IT infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly locate passwords or serial numbers and be warned about impending expirations of SSL certificates ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your IT documentation, you can save as much as half of time thrown away looking for critical 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 like standard operating procedures and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and relating IT data. Whether you're making enhancements, doing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the data you require when you need it. Read more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.

  • Progent Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
    Progent's Active Defense Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes next generation behavior-based machine learning tools to guard endpoints as well as servers and VMs against new malware attacks such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely get by legacy signature-matching AV tools. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud-based resources and offers a single platform to manage the entire malware attack progression including blocking, infiltration detection, mitigation, cleanup, and forensics. Top features include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic network-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware defense and cleanup services.

  • Progent's Outsourced/Shared Service Center: Help Desk Managed Services
    Progent's Support Center managed services permit your information technology team to offload Support Desk services to Progent or divide activity for support services seamlessly between your in-house network support group and Progent's nationwide pool of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Co-managed Service Desk offers a transparent extension of your corporate network support team. User access to the Service Desk, delivery of support, problem escalation, ticket generation and updates, efficiency measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether issues are resolved by your core network support organization, by Progent's team, or a mix of the two. Read more about Progent's outsourced/shared Service Center services.

  • Progent's Patch Management: Software/Firmware Update Management Services
    Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management offer businesses of any size a flexible and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your ever-evolving information network. Besides optimizing the security and reliability of your IT environment, Progent's patch management services allow your IT staff to focus on more strategic projects and tasks that deliver the highest business value from your information network. Learn more about Progent's patch management support services.

  • ProSight Duo Two-Factor Authentication: Access Security, Endpoint Remediation, and Secure Single Sign-on (SSO)
    Progent's Duo authentication services utilize Cisco's Duo technology to defend against password theft through the use of two-factor authentication (2FA). Duo enables one-tap identity verification with iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, whenever you log into a protected online account and enter your password you are asked to confirm who you are via a unit that only you have and that uses a different network channel. A wide selection of devices can be used as this added means of ID validation such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline telephone, etc. You may register multiple verification devices. To learn more about Duo two-factor identity validation services, refer to Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services.

  • ProSight Reporting: In-depth Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
    ProSight Reporting is a growing family of in-depth reporting tools created to integrate with the leading ticketing and network monitoring programs including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting uses Microsoft Graph and utilizes color coding to highlight and contextualize key issues such as inconsistent support follow-through or machines with missing patches. By identifying ticketing or network health concerns clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting improves productivity, lowers management overhead, and saves money. For more information, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.
For Minneapolis 24x7x365 Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Support Services, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.