Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is the new trending business model for ransomware attacks. It is a decentralized and mostly automated distribution mode to meet the growing demands of ransomware operators.
Currently, attackers behind ransomware campaigns are constantly looking for ways to maximize the profit from their efforts (and minimize the effort). The RaaS framework can be used by anyone without any coding skills, as it provides essential tools to quickly implement encryption and communication with command and control servers.
Wondering what Ransomware as a Service means, how it works, and what risks it poses to users? Keep reading.
What is Ransomware as a Service?
Ransomware as a Service is an online platform that allows anyone to start their own business by distributing Ransomware. Basically, this is the perfect example of insider risk (even if the insiders are external).
However, being a “foreigner” is not necessary to join RaaS. All you need to do to access the RaaS backend and start your own business is pay a small fee. The other side of the business (Ransomware distribution and deployment) is fully automated by the backend, so users can focus on developing their unique strain of Ransomware.
How does RaaS work?
Ransomware as a Service is quite easy to understand. Once RaaS developers release their “product”, potential affiliates purchase one (or more) copy(s). These copies are generated for each user separately, based on their unique Bitcoin address.
The backend of this service has an automated affiliate system that can handle multiple users at once. Once the affiliate purchase is completed, they can immediately start using the Ransomware and distribute it to the victims.
Each affiliate has a control panel that allows them to track and monitor the number of infections caused by their strain of Ransomware. They can also see the current price of their product and change some general settings (like changing encryption keys).
Ransomware as a Service is fully decentralized, so there is no central point of failure (no server to take down). The backend of the service is only used to manage affiliates and their products. Since each affiliate uses their unique Bitcoin address to purchase the copy of the ransomware, there is no way for law enforcement to connect them.
The attacker’s business model also offers the ability to buy traffic for distribution. Some RaaS platforms even offer affiliate networks with massive traffic that can be distributed via exploit kits or spam. This is something that all ransomware developers can benefit from, regardless of the actual technical capabilities of their strain.
What risks do RaaS users pose to the public?
Ransomware as a Service is a scary concept that can quickly become a nightmare for everyone involved. See how it brings pirates, distributors and customers together in one system?
This online platform is very similar to the underground economy. It’s perfect for cybercriminals looking for ways to maximize their profits while minimizing their efforts. Since ransomware developers can sell their creations without any coding skills, they will undoubtedly start flooding the market with multiple Ransomware variants which will end up targeting you and your family, friends and colleagues.
In addition to that, we have to consider that these cybercriminals cannot be blocked at the same level as regular ransomware distributors (because they use a decentralized platform), and updating their ransomware strain is very easy. If an affiliate managed to sell hundreds of copies of RaaS ransomware, they would surely get away with it.
Businesses and individuals around the world are vulnerable to RaaS attacks. Yet it’s especially critical for those who live in areas with high levels of corruption and poor cybersecurity practices. Also, people who regularly use pirated software or P2P sharing services are at a higher risk of having their files encrypted by RaaS ransomware.
What should you do to protect yourself?
Ransomware as a Service may seem like an incredible offer for cybercriminals, but there’s no need to panic. There are various precautions that everyone should take to protect themselves and their data:
Keep your data backed up
If you want to avoid the dangers of Ransomware, back up your data to an external drive or remote storage (cloud backup services included). This way, if a strain of ransomware encrypts your files and demands a ransom, you can restore them in no time.
Do not open dangerous files
The golden rule should always be on everyone’s mind: if you don’t know what it is, don’t open it. Keep your anti-virus software updated and only download files from official sources.
Avoid getting phished
Ransomware often arrives through phishing emails, and if you are tricked into opening such an email, it can lead to a ransomware infection. Be sure to watch out for bad grammar and spelling mistakes, as well as links that point to unknown websites. If you want to make sure an email is genuine, contact the company directly through a verified email address.
Do not access illegal torrents and streaming sites
This may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but there are people who still do it regularly. You should avoid using P2P sharing software whenever possible, as it is notorious for spreading malware. In addition to this, you should also stay away from illegal torrents and streaming websites as they may contain ransomware or other types of viruses.
Take security in hand
Paying the ransom isn’t the best way to protect your files, but cybercriminals don’t see it that way. If you want to protect yourself against RaaS ransomware, you need to invest in good cybersecurity practices like those listed above.
Ransomware as a Service may seem scary at first, but it can be stopped with proper protection software and precautions before it does any harm.
As you can see, there are certain precautions everyone should take to protect themselves against Ransomware. It’s about being smart and vigilant, especially on the internet.
Now that we have seen what Ransomware as a Service is and the dangers it can pose to people around the world, we can conclude that you should not take your data for granted. After all, it’s not just hackers who are interested in compromising our privacy; governments do it too (look PRISM).
That’s why you shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of investing in good cybersecurity practices. There’s no need to get paranoid, but you should know that there are people who want to get their hands on your data and information, so don’t let them!
Remember that Ransomware as a Service was designed to work with custom ransomware strains, so we’ll definitely see more of them in the future. Therefore, it is essential to follow these security guidelines and back up your data regularly.
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The post Ransomware as a Service – The Trending Business Model for Attacks appeared first on WeSecureApp::Simplifying Enterprise Security!.
*** This is a syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog from WeSecureApp :: Simplifying Enterprise Security! written by Naimisha. Read the original post at: https://wesecureapp.com/blog/ransomware-as-a-service-the-trending-business-model-for-attacks/