Ransomware : Your Worst IT Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that presents an extinction-level danger for businesses of all sizes unprepared for an assault. Multiple generations of crypto-ransomware such as CrySIS, Fusob, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been around for a long time and continue to inflict harm. Modern versions of ransomware like Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Snatch or Egregor, plus frequent unnamed newcomers, not only encrypt on-line information but also infect most accessible system protection. Data replicated to cloud environments can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed data protection solution, this can make automated restoration useless and basically knocks the datacenter back to square one.

Recovering applications and information following a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a race against the clock as the victim struggles to contain and remove the ransomware and to resume mission-critical activity. Because crypto-ransomware needs time to spread, attacks are frequently sprung on weekends and holidays, when successful penetrations in many cases take more time to identify. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and organizing an experienced mitigation team.

Progent has an assortment of services for securing enterprises from crypto-ransomware penetrations. These include team training to help identify and not fall victim to phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) for remote monitoring and management, along with installation of modern security gateways with AI capabilities to intelligently identify and suppress zero-day cyber attacks. Progent in addition offers the assistance of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery engineers with the track record and perseverance to re-deploy a breached environment as soon as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Services
After a ransomware event, even paying the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not provide any assurance that criminal gangs will return the needed codes to decrypt any of your information. Kaspersky estimated that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the usual crypto-ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be around $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the essential parts of your IT environment. Without the availability of essential data backups, this requires a broad complement of skills, well-coordinated team management, and the ability to work non-stop until the recovery project is finished.

For twenty years, Progent has provided professional Information Technology services for companies in San Mateo and throughout the United States and has achieved Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have earned high-level certifications in important technologies such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and popular distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity engineers have garnered internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISA, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (See Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has experience with financial systems and ERP software solutions. This breadth of experience gives Progent the skills to efficiently determine important systems and organize the remaining parts of your IT environment after a crypto-ransomware attack and rebuild them into an operational system.

Progent's recovery team has top notch project management applications to orchestrate the complicated restoration process. Progent knows the urgency of working rapidly and in concert with a client's management and Information Technology team members to assign priority to tasks and to put key services back on-line as soon as possible.

Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Virus Recovery
A business engaged Progent after their company was brought down by Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is thought to have been deployed by North Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly using strategies leaked from the United States National Security Agency. Ryuk targets specific organizations with little or no room for operational disruption and is among the most profitable incarnations of ransomware malware. Major victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing business, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a regional manufacturing company headquartered in the Chicago metro area and has around 500 employees. The Ryuk event had brought down all business operations and manufacturing capabilities. The majority of the client's backups had been on-line at the time of the attack and were eventually encrypted. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom (more than $200K) and wishfully thinking for good luck, but in the end made the decision to use Progent.


"I canít say enough about the care Progent gave us during the most fearful time of (our) businesses life. We may have had to pay the hackers behind this attack if not for the confidence the Progent experts gave us. The fact that you could get our messaging and important servers back sooner than five days was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single consultant I got help from or communicated with at Progent was laser focused on getting us operational and was working breakneck pace on our behalf."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly assess and prioritize the most important services that had to be addressed to make it possible to restart business operations:

  • Microsoft Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Email
  • Accounting/MRP
To get going, Progent followed AV/Malware Processes incident response industry best practices by halting the spread and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then started the work of recovering Microsoft Active Directory, the core of enterprise environments built upon Microsoft Windows technology. Microsoft Exchange email will not operate without Active Directory, and the client's MRP system leveraged Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Windows AD for security authorization to the data.

Within two days, Progent was able to recover Active Directory services to its pre-virus state. Progent then accomplished setup and storage recovery of the most important systems. All Microsoft Exchange Server ties and attributes were intact, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate intact OST data files (Microsoft Outlook Offline Folder Files) on user PCs and laptops to recover mail messages. A recent offline backup of the customerís accounting software made them able to recover these essential programs back servicing users. Although a large amount of work remained to recover totally from the Ryuk event, core services were restored rapidly:


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

During the next month key milestones in the recovery project were made through close collaboration between Progent consultants and the customer:

  • Self-hosted web applications were returned to operation with no loss of information.
  • The MailStore Server containing more than four million historical emails was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/AR/Inventory Control capabilities were 100% functional.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was deployed.
  • 90% of the desktop computers were operational.

"A lot of what transpired in the early hours is mostly a fog for me, but my team will not soon forget the urgency all of your team put in to help get our business back. I have entrusted Progent for the past ten years, possibly more, and every time Progent has come through and delivered. This situation was a stunning achievement."

Conclusion
A probable company-ending catastrophe was averted by dedicated experts, a wide array of IT skills, and close collaboration. Although in hindsight the crypto-ransomware penetration described here could have been prevented with up-to-date cyber security solutions and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, team training, and well designed security procedures for information protection and applying software patches, the reality is that state-sponsored cyber criminals from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do get hit by a ransomware incursion, feel confident that Progent's team of experts has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (and any others that were involved), Iím grateful for allowing me to get some sleep after we made it over the first week. Everyone did an fabulous job, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

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

Additional Crypto-Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in San Mateo a portfolio of remote monitoring and security evaluation services to help you to minimize the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services include modern AI technology to uncover zero-day strains of ransomware that can escape detection by traditional signature-based security solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that utilizes cutting edge behavior machine learning tools to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware assaults such as ransomware and email phishing, which routinely escape legacy signature-matching anti-virus tools. ProSight ASM protects local and cloud resources and offers a single platform to manage the entire malware attack progression including blocking, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include one-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Microsoft Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services offer affordable multi-layer security for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, mobile devices, and Exchange email. ProSight ESP uses adaptive security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, intrusion alarms, endpoint management, and web filtering via leading-edge technologies incorporated within a single agent managed from a unified console. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help you to plan and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your company's unique needs and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information protection regulations. Progent will help you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will manage, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that call for immediate attention. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to install and test a backup and restore system such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover rapidly from a destructive security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Exchange email filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a fixed monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and enables fast recovery of vital data, applications and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged due to component failures, software bugs, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can provide world-class support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can assist you to recover your critical information. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam filtering service that incorporates the technology of leading information security vendors to provide centralized control and comprehensive security for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Progent's Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway device to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based threats. Email Guard's cloud filter acts as a preliminary barricade and keeps the vast majority of threats from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to inbound attacks and conserves system bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device adds a further level of analysis for inbound email. For outgoing email, the local security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, DLP, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and safeguard internal email traffic that stays within your corporate firewall. For more information, see ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Network Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and affordable for smaller organizations to diagram, track, reconfigure and debug their networking hardware such as routers, firewalls, and access points plus servers, printers, client computers and other devices. Using state-of-the-art Remote Monitoring and Management technology, ProSight WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always current, captures and manages the configuration of almost all devices connected to your network, monitors performance, and generates alerts when issues are discovered. By automating complex management and troubleshooting activities, WAN Watch can cut hours off common tasks such as network mapping, reconfiguring your network, finding devices that require important software patches, or resolving performance problems. Learn more about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your IT system running 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 designated IT management staff and your assigned Progent consultant so all looming problems can be resolved before they can impact productivity. Find out more 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 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 service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the operating system platforms, and the applications. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to a different hardware solution without requiring a time-consuming and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not tied a single hosting provider. Learn more details 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 protect data related to your IT infrastructure, processes, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or serial numbers and be warned automatically about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By updating and managing your network documentation, you can save as much as half of time thrown away trying to find critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your network infrastructure like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and self-service instructions. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for collecting and associating IT information. Whether youíre making improvements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you require when you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For San Mateo 24/7 Ransomware Recovery Consultants, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.