Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Crypto-Ransomware  Recovery ExpertsRansomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that poses an extinction-level danger for businesses poorly prepared for an attack. Different iterations of crypto-ransomware such as CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, SamSam and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for a long time and continue to inflict destruction. Recent strains of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Nephilim, as well as daily unnamed malware, not only do encryption of on-line data files but also infiltrate all accessible system backup. Information replicated to off-site disaster recovery sites can also be encrypted. In a poorly designed data protection solution, it can make any recovery impossible and basically sets the entire system back to square one.

Restoring programs and data after a ransomware outage becomes a sprint against time as the targeted organization tries its best to stop the spread and remove the crypto-ransomware and to resume business-critical activity. Due to the fact that crypto-ransomware needs time to replicate, attacks are usually sprung during weekends and nights, when successful penetrations typically take more time to notice. This multiplies the difficulty of rapidly assembling and coordinating a knowledgeable response team.

Progent makes available an assortment of help services for securing businesses from ransomware events. Among these are team member training to help recognize and not fall victim to phishing attempts, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security appliances with AI capabilities to quickly detect and disable zero-day cyber threats. Progent also provides the assistance of expert ransomware recovery professionals with the skills and commitment to reconstruct a breached network as urgently as possible.

Progent's Ransomware Restoration Services
Soon after a ransomware attack, even paying the ransom demands in Bitcoin cryptocurrency does not guarantee that distant criminals will respond with the needed codes to decrypt any or all of your files. Kaspersky ascertained that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their information even after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also expensive. Ryuk ransoms often range from fifteen to forty BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the typical ransomware demands, which ZDNET averages to be around $13,000. The fallback is to piece back together the mission-critical parts of your Information Technology environment. Absent the availability of full data backups, this calls for a wide complement of skill sets, top notch project management, and the capability to work 24x7 until the task is finished.

For decades, Progent has made available professional Information Technology services for companies in Salem and throughout the US and has achieved Microsoft's Partnership certification in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes professionals who have earned top certifications in key technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distributions of Linux. Progent's cybersecurity specialists have garnered internationally-recognized certifications including CISM, CISSP, CRISC, and SANS GIAC. (Visit Progent's certifications). Progent also has experience with financial management and ERP application software. This breadth of experience provides Progent the ability to rapidly understand necessary systems and consolidate the surviving pieces of your computer network system after a ransomware attack and rebuild them into a functioning network.

Progent's security team utilizes powerful project management tools to orchestrate the complex restoration process. Progent appreciates the importance of working rapidly and in unison with a customerís management and Information Technology staff to assign priority to tasks and to put key applications back online as fast as humanly possible.

Business Case Study: A Successful Crypto-Ransomware Intrusion Restoration
A small business sought out Progent after their organization was attacked by the Ryuk ransomware virus. Ryuk is generally considered to have been developed by Northern Korean government sponsored criminal gangs, possibly adopting algorithms exposed from Americaís NSA organization. Ryuk goes after specific companies with limited room for disruption and is one of the most profitable incarnations of ransomware. Headline victims include Data Resolution, a California-based data warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a single-location manufacturing company headquartered in Chicago and has around 500 workers. The Ryuk event had disabled all essential operations and manufacturing processes. The majority of the client's information backups had been online at the beginning of the attack and were encrypted. The client was pursuing financing for paying the ransom (more than two hundred thousand dollars) and hoping for good luck, but ultimately reached out to Progent.


"I cannot tell you enough in regards to the care Progent gave us throughout the most fearful period of (our) companyís existence. We would have paid the hackers behind this attack except for the confidence the Progent experts afforded us. The fact that you were able to get our messaging and key applications back sooner than a week was incredible. Every single expert I talked with or e-mailed at Progent was amazingly focused on getting us working again and was working non-stop to bail us out."

Progent worked hand in hand the client to rapidly determine and assign priority to the mission critical elements that needed to be restored to make it possible to resume business operations:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Microsoft Exchange Email
  • Accounting/MRP
To get going, Progent adhered to ransomware incident mitigation industry best practices by stopping lateral movement and cleaning systems of viruses. Progent then started the work of restoring Microsoft Active Directory, the heart of enterprise environments built on Microsoft Windows technology. Exchange messaging will not function without AD, and the customerís financials and MRP system used Microsoft SQL Server, which requires Active Directory services for security authorization to the information.

Within 48 hours, Progent was able to recover Active Directory services to its pre-intrusion state. Progent then charged ahead with setup and storage recovery of essential applications. All Exchange ties and configuration information were intact, which greatly helped the restore of Exchange. Progent was able to assemble intact OST files (Microsoft Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on user workstations in order to recover mail information. A recent off-line backup of the client's financials/ERP software made it possible to return these essential services back online. Although major work still had to be done to recover totally from the Ryuk damage, essential services were recovered quickly:


"For the most part, the production operation was never shut down and we produced all customer deliverables."

During the following few weeks important milestones in the restoration process were made in tight collaboration between Progent engineers and the customer:

  • In-house web applications were returned to operation with no loss of data.
  • The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server exceeding four million archived messages was brought on-line and available for users.
  • CRM/Orders/Invoicing/Accounts Payable (AP)/Accounts Receivables/Inventory modules were 100% operational.
  • A new Palo Alto 850 security appliance was installed.
  • Nearly all of the user PCs were functioning as before the incident.

"Much of what went on during the initial response is mostly a blur for me, but my team will not soon forget the urgency each and every one of your team put in to give us our business back. I have been working with Progent for at least 10 years, maybe more, and every time I needed help Progent has shined and delivered. This situation was no exception but maybe more Herculean."

Conclusion
A potential business-killing disaster was averted due to dedicated experts, a wide array of subject matter expertise, and close collaboration. Although in retrospect the crypto-ransomware incident described here should have been prevented with up-to-date cyber security systems and NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001 best practices, staff education, and well thought out security procedures for information backup and applying software patches, the reality remains that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are tireless and represent an ongoing threat. If you do get hit by a ransomware incident, feel confident that Progent's roster of experts has extensive experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and file restoration.


"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Dan, Claude, Jesse, Tony and Chris (along with others that were contributing), thanks very much for letting me get some sleep after we made it past the initial fire. All of you did an fabulous job, and if anyone is around the Chicago area, a great meal is the least I can do!"

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

Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers businesses in Salem a range of online monitoring and security evaluation services designed to assist you to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware. These services incorporate next-generation machine learning capability to uncover zero-day strains of ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based anti-virus products.

  • 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 analysis technology to guard physical and virtual endpoint devices against new malware assaults like ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by traditional signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight ASM safeguards local and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to manage the complete malware attack lifecycle including blocking, detection, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key features include single-click rollback using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against new attacks. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring next-generation endpoint protection and ransomware defense.

  • ProSight Enhanced Security Protection: Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
    Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) services offer affordable multi-layer protection for physical and virtual servers, desktops, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP utilizes contextual security and modern behavior analysis for continuously monitoring and reacting to security threats from all vectors. ProSight ESP delivers firewall protection, penetration alerts, endpoint control, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies packaged within one agent accessible from a unified console. Progent's data protection and virtualization consultants can help your business to plan and configure a ProSight ESP environment that addresses your company's unique needs and that allows you demonstrate compliance with government and industry information security standards. Progent will assist you define and configure policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alerts that require immediate action. Progent's consultants can also help you to set up and test a backup and restore solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) so you can recover rapidly from a destructive cyber attack like ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange 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 service for secure backup/disaster recovery. Available at a fixed monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and allows fast restoration of vital data, applications and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged due to hardware breakdowns, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to to comply with government and industry regulatory standards like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when necessary, can help you to restore your business-critical information. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.

  • 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 infrastructure of top data security vendors to deliver centralized control and comprehensive protection for all your inbound and outbound email. The hybrid structure of Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with a local security gateway appliance to offer complete protection against spam, viruses, Dos Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer serves as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from reaching your security perimeter. This decreases your vulnerability to inbound attacks and saves network bandwidth and storage. Email Guard's on-premises security gateway device provides a deeper layer of analysis for incoming email. For outgoing email, the local security gateway provides AV and anti-spam filtering, policy-based Data Loss Prevention, and email encryption. The local security gateway can also assist Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that originates and ends inside your security perimeter. For more information, see Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.

  • ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
    ProSight WAN Watch is a network infrastructure management service that makes it simple and inexpensive for small and mid-sized organizations to map, monitor, optimize and troubleshoot their networking hardware like routers and switches, firewalls, and access points as well as servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Using cutting-edge Remote Monitoring and Management technology, WAN Watch makes sure that network maps are always updated, copies and manages the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and sends notices when potential issues are detected. By automating complex management processes, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary chores such as network mapping, expanding your network, finding devices that need critical software patches, or identifying the cause of performance issues. Learn more details about ProSight WAN Watch network infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.

  • ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Monitoring and Management
    ProSight LAN Watch is Progentís server and desktop monitoring service that uses advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your network running at peak levels by tracking the state of critical computers that power your business network. When ProSight LAN Watch uncovers a problem, an alert is transmitted immediately to your specified IT staff and your assigned Progent engineering consultant so that any looming problems can be resolved before they have a chance to disrupt your network. Find out more details about ProSight LAN Watch server and desktop monitoring consulting.

  • ProSight Virtual Hosting: Hosted VMs at Progent's Tier III Data Center
    With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small or mid-size organization can have its key servers and applications hosted in a protected Tier III data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and maintained 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 applications. Because the system is virtualized, it can be moved easily to a different hardware solution without requiring a time-consuming and difficult reinstallation process. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, your business is not tied one hosting service. Learn 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 allows you to capture, maintain, find and protect data related to your network infrastructure, procedures, business apps, and services. You can instantly find passwords or IP addresses and be warned automatically about impending expirations of SSLs or warranties. By updating and organizing your IT documentation, you can eliminate up to half of time spent trying to find critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common location for storing and sharing all documents required for managing your business network such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and How-To's. ProSight IT Asset Management also supports a high level of automation for collecting and relating IT information. Whether youíre planning enhancements, performing regular maintenance, or responding to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management delivers the knowledge you need when you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
For Salem 24x7 CryptoLocker Cleanup Consultants, reach out to Progent at 800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.