Do you know what the greatest motivator in 2016 was for cyber attacks?
If you answered “ransom,” you were correct.
Known as the year of ransomware, a whopping 49% of businesses fell victim to cyber ransom attacks. Based on these numbers, IT professionals certainly have cause for concern. Especially when taking into consideration “hacking made easy,” or what we know as Ransomware as a Service (RaaS).
What is Ransomware as a Service?
Modeled after software-as-a-service, RaaS extends hacking to would-be cybercriminals. Drawing in participants with a minimum of script kiddie abilities, they execute by:
In the end, 5%-25% of all ransom collected goes to the original developers. By creating free and easy malware that doesn’t require specialist knowledge to deploy, the ransomware bosses can score big profits with a large number of infections.
The remaining income goes directly to the script kiddies who get a taste of easy criminal profits. With access to hacking made easy tools like insider statistics and campaign settings, they can continue to conduct ransomware campaigns with little effort.
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It sounds like a cheesy infomercial, but hackers understand that hooking perspective evildoers is big business. A cryptoware program called Stampado, being sold on the darknet for $39 even had a YouTube video promoting the RaaS subscription.
While less experienced online attackers might be drawn in by the “hacking made easy” value proposition. More sophisticated actors will go after stable, flexible, and refined vectors.
In the wild we’ve seen this through the use of a Cerber variant, tied to a $2.5 million dollar a year RaaS ring. According to research reports, the RaaS ring included 161 active campaigns with eight new campaigns launched daily. In July 2016, it was estimated that criminals earned close to $200,000. Victims paid approximately 1 bitcoin ($590) to decrypt files locked by the Cerber ransomware.
Protecting Against RaaS
We urge victims against buckling to extortion if at all possible. Each time a ransom is paid, malicious actors gain resources to do more damage. While sometimes paying for decryption is unavoidable, we suggest taking these steps for the best possible outcomes.
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