Crypto-Ransomware : Your Feared Information Technology Disaster
Ransomware has become a modern cyber pandemic that represents an existential threat for organizations unprepared for an assault. Versions of ransomware such as CrySIS, CryptoWall, Bad Rabbit, Syskey and MongoLock cryptoworms have been circulating for many years and still inflict destruction. Modern versions of ransomware such as Ryuk, Maze, Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer, Conti or Egregor, plus frequent as yet unnamed viruses, not only encrypt on-line data but also infiltrate most configured system restores and backups. Information synched to the cloud can also be corrupted. In a vulnerable data protection solution, it can render automatic restoration hopeless and effectively knocks the network back to square one.
Getting back on-line services and information after a crypto-ransomware intrusion becomes a sprint against the clock as the targeted business tries its best to contain the damage and clear the ransomware and to restore business-critical operations. Since ransomware requires time to spread, penetrations are frequently launched during nights and weekends, when successful penetrations in many cases take longer to recognize. This multiplies the difficulty of quickly mobilizing and orchestrating a qualified mitigation team.
Progent offers a variety of help services for protecting organizations from ransomware events. Among these are team member education to help identify and not fall victim to phishing scams, ProSight Active Security Monitoring for remote monitoring and management, in addition to deployment of modern security appliances with AI technology from SentinelOne to discover and quarantine new threats automatically. Progent also provides the assistance of veteran ransomware recovery engineers with the talent and perseverance to reconstruct a breached network as quickly as possible.
Progent's Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Services
Soon after a crypto-ransomware event, even paying the ransom demands in cryptocurrency does not guarantee that cyber criminals will provide the keys to unencrypt any of your data. Kaspersky Labs determined that seventeen percent of ransomware victims never recovered their data after having sent off the ransom, resulting in additional losses. The risk is also costly. Ryuk ransoms frequently range from 15-40 BTC ($120,000 and $400,000). This is significantly above the average ransomware demands, which ZDNET estimates to be in the range of $13,000. The fallback is to setup from scratch the vital parts of your Information Technology environment. Without access to full system backups, this calls for a wide range of skill sets, well-coordinated team management, and the ability to work continuously until the recovery project is completed.
For two decades, Progent has made available expert IT services for companies in Petaluma and across the United States and has earned Microsoft's Gold Partnership certification status in the Datacenter and Cloud Productivity competencies. Progent's pool of subject matter experts (SMEs) includes consultants who have been awarded advanced certifications in foundation technologies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, and major distros of Linux. Progent's cyber security engineers have earned internationally-renowned industry certifications including CISM, CISSP, ISACA CRISC, and GIAC. (Refer to Progent's certifications). Progent in addition has expertise in accounting and ERP applications. This breadth of expertise affords Progent the capability to knowledgably determine critical systems and re-organize the remaining components of your computer network environment following a ransomware event and assemble them into an operational network.
Progent's ransomware team utilizes state-of-the-art project management tools to coordinate the sophisticated restoration process. Progent appreciates the urgency of working swiftly and in unison with a client's management and IT resources to assign priority to tasks and to get essential systems back online as fast as possible.
Customer Story: A Successful Ransomware Penetration Restoration
A client escalated to Progent after their company was crashed by Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is thought to have been created by North Korean state hackers, suspected of using technology leaked from the United States NSA organization. Ryuk targets specific businesses with limited room for disruption and is one of the most profitable incarnations of ransomware. Headline targets include Data Resolution, a California-based info warehousing and cloud computing company, and the Chicago Tribune. Progent's client is a small manufacturer headquartered in the Chicago metro area with around 500 staff members. The Ryuk event had frozen all business operations and manufacturing processes. Most of the client's data protection had been directly accessible at the time of the intrusion and were eventually encrypted. The client was actively seeking loans for paying the ransom demand (exceeding two hundred thousand dollars) and hoping for good luck, but in the end engaged Progent.
"I cannot speak enough about the care Progent gave us during the most fearful period of (our) company's life. We had little choice but to pay the cyber criminals if not for the confidence the Progent group afforded us. That you could get our messaging and production servers back into operation faster than five days was beyond my wildest dreams. Every single expert I got help from or texted at Progent was totally committed on getting us back on-line and was working breakneck pace to bail us out."
Progent worked with the customer to quickly determine and prioritize the critical services that needed to be recovered to make it possible to continue departmental operations:
To start, Progent adhered to AV/Malware Processes incident response best practices by stopping the spread and cleaning up infected systems. Progent then initiated the process of recovering Active Directory, the foundation of enterprise environments built on Microsoft Windows Server technology. Microsoft Exchange Server email will not function without Active Directory, and the client's MRP software used Microsoft SQL, which depends on Active Directory services for security authorization to the data.
- Active Directory (AD)
- Electronic Messaging
- Accounting and Manufacturing Software
In less than two days, Progent was able to recover Active Directory services to its pre-attack state. Progent then helped perform reinstallations and hard drive recovery of mission critical servers. All Exchange Server data and attributes were usable, which greatly helped the restore of Exchange. Progent was also able to locate intact OST files (Outlook Off-Line Folder Files) on team desktop computers and laptops in order to recover mail data. A not too old offline backup of the businesses financials/ERP software made them able to return these required applications back online. Although a lot of work still had to be done to recover totally from the Ryuk virus, essential systems were restored quickly:
"For the most part, the production manufacturing operation was never shut down and we delivered all customer shipments."
Throughout the next month important milestones in the restoration process were made in close collaboration between Progent engineers and the client:
- In-house web applications were returned to operation without losing any information.
- The MailStore Microsoft Exchange Server containing more than 4 million archived messages was brought on-line and accessible to users.
- CRM/Customer Orders/Invoicing/AP/Accounts Receivables/Inventory Control functions were 100% recovered.
- A new Palo Alto Networks 850 firewall was installed.
- 90% of the user desktops and notebooks were back into operation.
"So much of what happened those first few days is nearly entirely a blur for me, but my management will not forget the dedication each of the team accomplished to give us our company back. I have trusted Progent for the past 10 years, maybe more, and each time I needed help Progent has impressed me and delivered as promised. This event was a Herculean accomplishment."
A possible business-killing catastrophe was evaded with hard-working professionals, a wide range of technical expertise, and tight teamwork. Although in analyzing the event afterwards the ransomware incident described here could have been prevented with advanced security systems and recognized best practices, user education, and appropriate security procedures for data protection and proper patching controls, the fact remains that government-sponsored cyber criminals from Russia, China and elsewhere are relentless and will continue. If you do fall victim to a crypto-ransomware penetration, remember that Progent's team of experts has proven experience in ransomware virus blocking, remediation, and data disaster recovery.
"So, to Darrin, Matt, Aaron, Claude, Jesse, Arnaud, Allen, Tony and Chris (along with others that were involved), thank you for making it so I could get rested after we made it past the initial push. Everyone did an amazing effort, and if anyone is visiting the Chicago area, dinner is the least I can do!"
To read or download a PDF version of this case study, please click:
Progent's Ransomware Recovery Case Study Datasheet. (PDF - 282 KB)
Additional Ransomware Protection Services Offered by Progent
Progent offers companies in Petaluma a variety of online monitoring and security assessment services designed to help you to minimize the threat from ransomware. These services utilize next-generation machine learning technology to detect new strains of ransomware that can get past legacy signature-based anti-virus products.
For Petaluma 24/7/365 Crypto-Ransomware Recovery Experts, call Progent at 800-462-8800 or go to Contact Progent.
- ProSight Active Security Monitoring: Endpoint Protection and Ransomware Defense
Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates SentinelOne's cutting edge behavior-based analysis tools to defend physical and virtual endpoint devices against modern malware attacks like ransomware and email phishing, which easily get by traditional signature-based anti-virus products. ProSight ASM protects on-premises and cloud resources and offers a unified platform to address the entire threat progression including filtering, identification, mitigation, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key features include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time system-wide immunization against new threats. Progent is a SentinelOne Partner, reseller, and integrator. Learn more about Progent's ProSight Active Security Monitoring endpoint protection and ransomware recovery.
- ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP): Endpoint Protection and Exchange Email Filtering
Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) managed services offer affordable multi-layer security for physical servers and VMs, workstations, smartphones, and Microsoft Exchange. ProSight ESP uses contextual security and modern behavior analysis for round-the-clock monitoring and responding to cyber assaults from all attack vectors. ProSight ESP provides two-way firewall protection, penetration alarms, device management, and web filtering through leading-edge technologies incorporated within one agent accessible from a unified control. Progent's data protection and virtualization experts can help you to plan and configure a ProSight ESP deployment that addresses your organization's specific requirements and that helps you achieve and demonstrate compliance with government and industry data protection regulations. Progent will assist you specify and implement security policies that ProSight ESP will enforce, and Progent will monitor your IT environment and react to alarms that call for urgent attention. Progent's consultants can also assist your company to set up and test a backup and disaster recovery solution such as ProSight Data Protection Services so you can get back in business quickly from a potentially disastrous cyber attack such as ransomware. Find out more about Progent's ProSight Enhanced Security Protection (ESP) unified physical and virtual endpoint security and Microsoft Exchange filtering.
- ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS): Managed Backup and Recovery Services
Progent has partnered with advanced backup software providers to create ProSight Data Protection Services, a selection of offerings that provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS). ProSight DPS products manage and track your backup processes and enable non-disruptive backup and fast recovery of critical files/folders, applications, images, plus virtual machines. ProSight DPS lets you recover from data loss caused by equipment breakdown, natural disasters, fire, malware like ransomware, user error, malicious employees, or software glitches. Managed services available in the ProSight DPS portfolio include ProSight Altaro VM Backup, ProSight 365 Total Backup (formerly Altaro 365 Backup), ProSight ECHO Backup using Barracuda dedicated storage, and ProSight MSP360 Hybrid Backup. Your Progent service representative can assist you to identify which of these 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 filtering and email encryption service that incorporates the infrastructure of top information security companies to provide web-based control and comprehensive security for all your email traffic. The powerful architecture of Email Guard integrates a Cloud Protection Layer with an on-premises security gateway appliance to provide complete protection against spam, viruses, Denial of Service Attacks, DHAs, and other email-based malware. Email Guard's Cloud Protection Layer acts as a first line of defense and keeps the vast majority of threats from making it to your network firewall. This reduces your exposure to inbound threats and conserves network bandwidth and storage space. Email Guard's onsite gateway appliance provides a deeper level of inspection for inbound email. For outgoing email, the on-premises security gateway offers anti-virus and anti-spam protection, DLP, and email encryption. The onsite gateway can also help Microsoft Exchange Server to monitor and protect internal email traffic that stays inside your security perimeter. For more details, visit ProSight Email Guard spam filtering and data leakage protection.
- ProSight WAN Watch: Infrastructure Management
ProSight WAN Watch is an infrastructure management service that makes it simple and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses to diagram, track, optimize and debug their networking appliances like switches, firewalls, and load balancers plus servers, printers, endpoints and other networked devices. Incorporating state-of-the-art RMM technology, WAN Watch ensures that infrastructure topology maps are always updated, copies and displays the configuration information of virtually all devices on your network, monitors performance, and generates notices when problems are discovered. By automating tedious management activities, ProSight WAN Watch can cut hours off ordinary chores like making network diagrams, expanding your network, locating devices that require critical software patches, or resolving performance bottlenecks. Find out more details about ProSight WAN Watch infrastructure monitoring and management consulting.
- ProSight LAN Watch: Server and Desktop Remote Monitoring and Management
ProSight LAN Watch is Progent's server and desktop remote monitoring service that uses state-of-the-art remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology to keep your network operating efficiently by tracking the state of critical computers that drive your information system. When ProSight LAN Watch detects a problem, an alert is sent automatically to your designated IT management staff and your assigned Progent consultant so that any potential problems can be addressed 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 Tier III Data Center
With ProSight Virtual Hosting service, a small business can have its critical servers and apps hosted in a protected fault tolerant data center on a high-performance virtual host configured and maintained by Progent's IT support experts. Under the ProSight Virtual Hosting service model, the client retains ownership of the data, the OS software, and the apps. Since the system is virtualized, it can be ported easily to an alternate hosting solution without requiring a time-consuming and difficult configuration procedure. With ProSight Virtual Hosting, you are not locked into a single 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 makes it easy to create, update, find and safeguard data about your IT infrastructure, procedures, applications, and services. You can quickly find passwords or IP addresses and be alerted about upcoming expirations of SSLs ,domains or warranties. By cleaning up and managing your IT infrastructure documentation, you can save up to 50% of time thrown away trying to find critical information about your network. ProSight IT Asset Management features a common location for storing and collaborating on 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 collecting and relating IT data. Whether you're planning improvements, performing maintenance, or reacting to a crisis, ProSight IT Asset Management gets you the information you need the instant you need it. Learn more about ProSight IT Asset Management service.
- Active Protection Against Ransomware: Machine Learning-based Ransomware Identification and Cleanup
Progent's Active Protection Against Ransomware is an endpoint protection (EPP) service that incorporates cutting edge behavior machine learning technology to guard endpoint devices as well as servers and VMs against new malware assaults like ransomware and file-less exploits, which routinely evade legacy signature-matching AV products. Progent Active Security Monitoring services safeguard on-premises and cloud resources and provides a unified platform to manage the entire malware attack lifecycle including blocking, identification, containment, cleanup, and post-attack forensics. Key capabilities include single-click rollback with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service and real-time network-wide immunization against newly discovered threats. Read more about Progent's ransomware protection and cleanup services.
- Progent's Outsourced/Shared Call Desk: Support Desk Managed Services
Progent's Call Desk managed services enable your IT staff to offload Call Center services to Progent or split activity for support services transparently between your in-house network support team and Progent's extensive roster of IT service technicians, engineers and subject matter experts. Progent's Co-managed Help Desk Service provides a transparent extension of your core support organization. User interaction with the Help Desk, provision of support, problem escalation, ticket generation and tracking, performance measurement, and maintenance of the support database are cohesive whether incidents are resolved by your core support organization, by Progent, or a mix of the two. Find out more about Progent's outsourced/shared Call Center services.
- Patch Management: Patch Management Services
Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management offer businesses of all sizes a flexible and affordable solution for evaluating, testing, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your dynamic IT system. In addition to optimizing the protection and reliability of your computer network, Progent's software/firmware update management services free up time for your IT staff to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and tasks that deliver maximum business value from your network. Read more about Progent's software/firmware update management services.
- ProSight Duo Multi-Factor Authentication: ID Confirmation, Endpoint Policy Enforcement, and Protected Single Sign-on
Progent's Duo authentication service plans incorporate Cisco's Duo cloud technology to defend against stolen passwords by using two-factor authentication. Duo supports one-tap identity verification with iOS, Android, and other personal devices. Using Duo 2FA, when you sign into a secured application and give your password you are asked to verify your identity via a unit that only you possess and that is accessed using a different network channel. A broad range of devices can be utilized for this added means of ID validation such as a smartphone or wearable, a hardware token, a landline phone, etc. You may register several verification devices. To learn more about ProSight Duo identity authentication services, see Duo MFA two-factor authentication (2FA) services for access security.
- ProSight Reporting: Real-time Reporting for Ticketing and Network Monitoring Platforms
ProSight Reporting is a growing suite of real-time and in-depth reporting utilities designed to integrate with the top ticketing and remote network monitoring platforms including ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Automate, Customer Thermometer, Auvik, and SentinelOne. ProSight Reporting incorporates Microsoft Graph and features color coding to highlight and contextualize critical issues like inconsistent support follow-up or endpoints with out-of-date AVs. By identifying ticketing or network health problems clearly and in near-real time, ProSight Reporting enhances productivity, lowers management hassle, and saves money. For details, visit ProSight Reporting for ticketing and network monitoring platforms.