Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is a dark web threat to companies that use software to launch an attack and secure a redemption payment. These attacks involve a cybercriminal distributing malware to compromise a device (or multiple devices) and requiring a large payment to be made before the victim's technology is restored – has become a major concern for organizations across industries. In fact, recent research suggests that these attacks have increased by almost 140% in the last year alone, with the median redemption requirement totaling $ 178,000 and the average total loss of such an attack exceeding $ 1 million.
An important contributing factor to this increase is the recent debut of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). Simply put, RaaS refers to a dark web business model that allows sophisticated cybercriminals to sell their ransomware software to willing buyers (usually less skilled cybercriminals), who then use the software to launch an attack and secure a ransom.
The RaaS model poses a serious threat to organizations of all sizes and sectors, as it enables cybercriminals at all levels to carry out ransomware attacks against their targets. Read the following guide to learn more about the RaaS model, its impact on organizational cyber security, and best practices for dealing with RaaS issues.
What is Ransomware-as-a-Service?
Although the purpose is to sell a harmful product, the RaaS model works in much the same way as a regular business model. First, savvy ransomware developers generate malicious software for sale. To be attractive to buyers, this software must have a high probability of penetration and minimal risk of detection.
Once the software has been created and is ready for distribution, it will be launched as a multi-end user infrastructure. RaaS developers then search for potential customers using typical business marketing methods throughout the dark web ̵
When RaaS developers secure buyers, these customers usually get access to not only the ransomware software itself, but also some form of product portal. This portal may contain detailed instructions for software implementation, user reviews, support forums and special discounts or offers for future purchases from the developer. Customers can have permanent access to the software they buy, or just be given time to use it – much like a lease.
Depending on the developer, RaaS purchases can be a one-time sale or a one-month subscription service. In some cases, RaaS developers do not actually sell their software but rather recruit other cybercriminals who are willing to launch attacks using the developer's software in exchange for a percentage of the resulting ransom. This commission-based partnership is also known as an affiliate program.
Whether RaaS developers have customers or affiliates, these cybercriminals can receive the developer's software, they can use it to carry out ransomware attacks on their targets – which can potentially result in extensive disruptions, damaged or destroyed data, reputational effects and significant economic downturns for the affected organizations. Well-known RaaS incidents include WannaCry, Cerber, MacRansom, Philadelphia, Atom, Hostman and FLUX. and encryption features to remove a ransomware attack. In other words, only the most sophisticated cybercriminals could successfully launch such attacks and receive ransoms from their victims.
But the introduction of RaaS to the dark web has enabled cybercriminals at virtually any skill level and very little technical ability to accomplish. this performance with a simple purchase – which contributes to a rapid increase in the frequency of ransomware attacks as a whole.
In addition to attack frequency, cybercriminals involved in RaaS models have become more confident in the strength of their malware – motivating them to increase their ransom demands. This is especially true in the scope of RaaS affiliate programs. Since subsidiaries only receive a portion of the total redemption payment after an attack, an increased payment requirement gives them a larger profit.
That said, the RaaS model has played a major role in increasing both the frequency and cost of ransomware events in recent years, exacerbating the expected consequences that affected organizations will face for an already severely damaging form of attack.
Addressing Ransomware-as-a-Service Cyberthreat Concerns
The best way to minimize the growing threat of RaaS concerns in your organization is to take precautionary and anti-ransomware precautions. Remember that ransomware attacks are usually distributed through phishing emails, misleading links, dangerous websites, malicious attachments and malicious programs. With this in mind, here are some best ways to combat ransomware attacks:
- Secure your systems – First, it's important to take steps to protect your organizational IT infrastructure from potential ransomware exposures. This can mean:
- Using a virtual private network (VPN) for all Internet-based activities (eg browsing and sending e-mail)
- Installing antivirus software on all workplace technologies
- Implementing a firewall to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your organization's VPN  Restrict employees 'access to unsafe websites
- Create email filters to prevent phishing messages from reaching employees' inboxes
- Encrypt sensitive data on all organizational units and routinely back up this information  Limit which employees receive administrative checks to prevent inexperienced staff from accidentally downloading a malicious program
- Regularly updates all organizational units and security programs to ensure efficiency
- Develop a cyber incident response plan that adequately takes into account to ransomware scenarios and practice this plan in person al
- Train Your Employees —Next, be sure to train your employees on how to prevent and respond to a ransomware attack. Give your staff these tips:
- Avoid opening or replying to emails from people or organizations you do not know. If an email claims to come from a trusted source, be sure to verify their identity by double-checking the address.
- Never click on suspicious links or pop-ups, whether they are in an email or on a website. Similarly, avoid downloading attachments or programs from unknown sources or sites.
- Only browse secure websites on organizational units. Refrain from using workplace devices for personal browsing.
- If you suspect a ransomware attack, contact your manager or IT department immediately for further guidance.
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