Ransomware : Your Feared IT Catastrophe
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsCrypto-Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that poses an extinction-level danger for businesses vulnerable to an assault. Versions of ransomware such as Dharma, CryptoWall, Locky, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been replicating for years and continue to cause damage. The latest strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, Netwalker, Lockbit or Egregor, along with frequent as yet unnamed viruses, not only do encryption of on-line files but also infiltrate all configured system backup. Data replicated to the cloud can also be ransomed. In a poorly designed environment, this can render automated recovery impossible and effectively sets the datacenter back to square one.

Getting back online services and data following a ransomware attack becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted organization struggles to stop lateral movement and clear the ransomware and to resume mission-critical activity. Because ransomware requires time to replicate, penetrations are usually launched on weekends and holidays, when successful penetrations in many cases take longer to recognize. This compounds the difficulty of quickly marshalling and organizing a knowledgeable mitigation team.

Progent has an assortment of services for protecting organizations from crypto-ransomware penetrations. Among these are staff education to help identify and avoid phishing exploits, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, along with deployment of the latest generation security appliances with AI capabilities to automatically identify and disable day-zero cyber threats. Progent also provides the assistance of experienced crypto-ransomware recovery engineers with the skills and commitment to rebuild a compromised network as rapidly as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Recovery Support Services
After a crypto-ransomware attack, paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not ensure that merciless criminals will provide the needed keys to decrypt any of your information. Kaspersky determined that 17% of crypto-ransomware victims never restored their data even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is well above the usual ransomware demands, which ZDNET determined to be in the range of $13,000. The other path is to setup from scratch the key elements of your IT environment. Without access to essential data backups, this requires a wide complement of skill sets, well-coordinated project management, and the ability to work non-stop until the recovery project is completed.

For two decades, Progent has offered certified expert Information Technology services for companies in Lakeland and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's group of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have attained high-level industry certifications in important technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity experts have earned internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has expertise with accounting and ERP software solutions. This breadth of expertise provides Progent the ability to rapidly determine necessary systems and organize the remaining components of your Information Technology environment after a crypto-ransomware event and assemble them into an operational network.

Progent's ransomware team of experts has top notch project management tools to orchestrate the complex recovery process. Progent knows the importance of acting rapidly and in concert with a customerís management and IT staff to assign priority to tasks and to get key services back on-line as soon as humanly possible.

Client Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Virus Restoration
A customer escalated to Progent after their network system was brought down by Ryuk crypto-ransomware. Ryuk is believed to have been developed by North Korean state cybercriminals, suspected of adopting techniques leaked from the U.S. NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific companies with little or no room for disruption and is among the most lucrative iterations of ransomware. Well Known organizations include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing firm, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's customer is a small manufacturing company located in the Chicago metro area and has about 500 staff members. The Ryuk attack had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's information backups had been directly accessible at the beginning of the attack and were encrypted. The client was evaluating paying the ransom (in excess of two hundred thousand dollars) and wishfully thinking for the best, but in the end called Progent.


"I cannot thank you enough in regards to the care Progent provided us during the most stressful period of (our) businesses life. We may have had to pay the criminal gangs except for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our messaging and production servers back into operation quicker than a week was beyond my wildest dreams. Each staff member I spoke to or texted at Progent was hell bent on getting our system up and was working all day and night to bail us out."

Progent worked together with the client to quickly get our arms around and assign priority to the mission critical applications that had to be addressed to make it possible to resume departmental functions:

  • Active Directory
  • Electronic Mail
  • MRP System
To start, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes event mitigation industry best practices by halting the spread and clearing infected systems. Progent then began the work of bringing back online Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise networks built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not work without AD, and the client's MRP applications used Microsoft SQL, which requires Active Directory services for authentication to the data.

In less than 48 hours, Progent was able to rebuild Windows Active Directory to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then initiated setup and hard drive recovery on essential systems. All Exchange data and configuration information were usable, which greatly helped the rebuild of Exchange. Progent was also able to collect intact OST data files (Outlook Email Offline Data Files) on team desktop computers to recover mail information. A not too old offline backup of the businesses accounting/ERP software made it possible to recover these vital services back online. Although major work needed to be completed to recover completely from the Ryuk virus, essential services were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the production operation survived unscathed and we delivered all customer shipments."

During the next month critical milestones in the recovery process were accomplished through tight cooperation between Progent engineers and the client:

  • Self-hosted web applications were returned to operation without losing any information.
  • The MailStore Exchange Server exceeding four million historical emails was spun up and accessible to users.
  • CRM/Product Ordering/Invoicing/Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivables (AR)/Inventory Control modules were completely operational.
  • A new Palo Alto Networks 850 security appliance was brought on-line.
  • 90% of the user PCs were being used by staff.

"So much of what was accomplished those first few days is mostly a haze for me, but I will not forget the countless hours each and every one of your team put in to give us our business back. Iíve trusted Progent for at least 10 years, possibly more, and every time Progent has shined and delivered as promised. This situation was a testament to your capabilities."

Conclusion
A probable business extinction catastrophe was dodged with hard-working experts, a wide spectrum of knowledge, and close collaboration. Although in hindsight the ransomware virus incident described here should have been identified and prevented with up-to-date cyber security systems and best practices, user and IT administrator education, and properly executed security procedures for information backup and keeping systems up to date with security patches, the reality remains that government-sponsored criminal cyber gangs from China, Russia, North Korea and elsewhere are relentless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do fall victim to a ransomware virus, remember that Progent's roster of experts has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, mitigation, and file recovery.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were involved), thanks very much for allowing me to get some sleep after we got through the first week. Everyone did an impressive effort, and if anyone that helped is around the Chicago area, a great meal is my treat!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Available from Progent
Progent can provide businesses in Lakeland a range of online monitoring and security assessment services to assist you to reduce the threat from crypto-ransomware. These services incorporate modern AI technology to detect new strains of crypto-ransomware that are able to escape detection by legacy signature-based anti-virus solutions.

  • ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
    Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) solution that utilizes cutting edge behavior-based analysis technology to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware attacks such as ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely get by legacy signature-matching anti-virus products. ProSight Active Security Monitoring protects local and cloud-based resources and provides a unified platform to automate the entire malware attack progression including blocking, infiltration detection, containment, remediation, and post-attack forensics. Top capabilities include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and automatic system-wide immunization against new threats. Read more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring (ASM) endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Physical and Virtual Endpoint Security and Exchange Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection services deliver affordable multi-layer protection for physical servers and virtual machines, desktops, smartphones, and Exchange Server. ProSight ESP utilizes adaptive security and modern behavior analysis 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 through leading-edge tools incorporated within a single agent accessible from a single console. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can assist your business to design and configure a ProSight ESP environment that meets your organization's unique requirements and that allows you demonstrate compliance with legal and industry information protection standards. Progent will help you define and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your network and respond to alarms that require immediate attention. Progent can also assist your company to set up and verify a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can recover rapidly from a potentially disastrous security attack such as ransomware. Read more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified endpoint protection and Microsoft Exchange filtering.

  • ProSight Data Protection Services: Managed Backup and Recovery
    ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup activities and enables rapid recovery of vital files, apps and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to hardware breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can provide advanced support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever necessary, can assist you to recover your critical data. Read more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Cloud Backup.

  • ProSight Email Guard: Inbound and Outbound Spam Filtering and Data Leakage Protection
    ProSight Email Guard is Progent's spam and virus filtering service that uses the infrastructure of top data security vendors to provide web-based management and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The powerful structure of Progent's Email Guard managed service integrates cloud-based filtering with an on-premises gateway appliance to offer advanced 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 blocks most threats from making it to your security perimeter. This reduces your exposure to external threats and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises gateway device adds a deeper layer of analysis for inbound email. For outgoing email, the onsite security gateway provides anti-virus and anti-spam protection, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The onsite security gateway can also help Exchange Server to track and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, visit ProSight Email Guard spam and content filtering.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Remote Monitoring and Management
    Progentís ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure monitoring and management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for smaller organizations to map out, track, reconfigure and troubleshoot their networking appliances like routers and switches, firewalls, and load balancers as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) technology, ProSight WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are always current, captures and displays the configuration of almost all devices on your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when issues are detected. By automating tedious management and troubleshooting activities, ProSight WAN Watch can knock hours off ordinary tasks like network mapping, reconfiguring your network, locating devices that require important updates, or identifying the cause of performance bottlenecks. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management services.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop remote monitoring managed service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management techniques to keep your IT system operating efficiently by checking the state of vital computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alarm is sent immediately to your designated IT management personnel and your assigned Progent consultant so any looming issues can be addressed before they have a chance to disrupt productivity. 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 Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its critical servers and applications hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a fast virtual machine host configured and maintained by Progent's network support experts. Under Progent's ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client owns the data, the operating system software, and the apps. Because the environment is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hardware environment without a time-consuming and technically risky configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into a single hosting provider. Learn more details 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 capture, update, find and safeguard information about your IT infrastructure, processes, business apps, and services. You can quickly locate passwords or IP addresses and be alerted automatically about impending expirations of SSLs or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT documentation, you can save up to half of time wasted trying to find vital information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management includes a common repository for storing and collaborating on all documents related to managing your business network such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also offers a high level of automation for gathering and associating IT data. Whether youíre making enhancements, performing maintenance, or reacting to an emergency, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the data you need the instant you need it. Read more about Progent's ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For 24x7 Lakeland Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Services, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.