Ransomware-As-A-Service: How does it work?
Ransomware as a service (RaaS) severely threatens all cybersecurity data and systems. Similar to Software-as-a-Service, RaaS enables subscription-based ransomware access for users with little or no programming experience.
With the growing popularity of RaaS, businesses and organizations of all sizes should be well-versed in reducing the likelihood of falling victim to a RaaS attack. In this article, we will discuss what RaaS is, its business strategy and technology, and how to avoid assaults.
What is ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS)?
Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is a business model for criminal organizations that enables anybody to join and utilize ransomware attack tools. Similar to as-a-service models like software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), RaaS clients rent ransomware services instead of owning them as in the conventional software distribution model.
Malware that locks a victim's machine or files, typically by encryption, is known as ransomware. The only way for the victim to recover access to their data is to pay a ransom to the persons responsible for the ransomware assault. The criminal underworld's ransomware industry is now worth billions of dollars annually.
While many believe that the persons behind cyber assaults like ransomware are highly accomplished programmers, the reality is that many attackers do not create their code and may not even know how. Instead of employing the vulnerabilities they design, cybercriminals with coding skills frequently sell or rent them.
With an "as-a-service" concept, ransomware is only one subset of the cybercrime industry. Among other things, attackers may rent DDoS tools, subscribe to databases of stolen passwords, hire botnets, and rent banking trojans.
How does Ransomware-As-A-Service (RaaS) work?
RaaS services can generate income in a variety of ways. There are a variety of pricing schemes from which providers can choose, including a fixed monthly subscription cost, a percentage of their clients' revenues, a combination of the two, and a one-time license fee. Customers of RaaS can choose their preferred strain of malware after signing up for an account and making their initial payment (often in cryptocurrencies).
Payment completes the assault effort, and the attackers start spreading the malware and infecting victims. When launching a ransomware assault, cybercriminals frequently employ phishing or social engineering operations to fool attackers into downloading and running the malicious malware. As soon as the malware is activated, the victim's machine is rendered encrypted and useless, and the attacker shows a message with instructions on where to submit the ransom. It’s important to note that these techniques are inexpensive compared to buying a zero-day exploit or a backdoor.
Statistics of Ransomware
According to the 2022 Unit 42 Ransomware Threat Report, the ransomware cyber threat is growing significantly:
- The average ransom demand for cases increased 144% to $2.2 million last year.
- The average payout increased by 78% to $541,010.
- Unit 42 actively monitors the most minuscule 56 RaaS organizations.
Between January and July 31, 2021, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received 2,084 ransomware reports. It is believed that ransomware will continue to increase, and RaaS groups will likely lead the drive.
Uses of RaaS
There are RaaS vendors that are careful about who they do software with. They may be looking for expert users who would go after high-profile targets to promote their service. Furthermore, they may demand that you meet specific conditions before utilizing their service, such as being fluent in a particular language or having the resources to begin making money off ransomware immediately.
On the other hand, some other vendors don't discriminate regarding who they serve so long as they are paid or generate ransom money. This poses a little threat to RaaS providers, as some consumers are bound to be somewhat naive and fall for it.
Many RaaS companies have become pickier about the types of businesses they'll serve in recent years. They may, for instance, make it illegal to launch assaults on power plants, hospitals, and other essential services because of the toll they can take on people's lives and well-being. RaaS providers may have ethical issues affecting someone's physical health, and these extreme events bring unwanted attention to the RaaS sector (as opposed to their bank account).
How to avoid RaaS attacks
Technology advancements have enabled code developers and affiliates to infiltrate systems and demand ransoms from businesses. Cybercrime has become more accessible, resulting in a 63.2% increase in RaaS and extortion groups in the first quarter of 2022. Here are four essential tips for preventing RaaS attacks to avoid becoming one of these statistics.
1. Backup data consistently
Typically, sensitive and confidential information is the primary objective of a RaaS assault. If the ransom is not paid, hackers breach your systems or data and threaten to steal or release it. If data is backed up, RaaS attackers will not have the same leverage as they had sole ownership. As a precaution against RaaS, don't rely only on cloud storage; back up your data on external hard drives.
2. Keep your software updated
Keeping your system software up-to-date is another practical approach to prevent RaaS attacks. Included in this are your anti-virus procedures. Cybercriminals are eager to exploit the glaring vulnerability that outdated system versions present. By patching vulnerabilities and assuring bug fixes, software upgrades help improve network security. Additionally, maintain a stringent patching policy to guard against known vulnerabilities and possible future RaaS technologies.
3. Continuous employee training
RaaS attackers frequently use phishing emails with malicious links and attachments to deceive their targets. If the communication is from an unknown source or elicits distrust, employees should be aware that they should immediately disregard it. Educate users on recognizing, quarantining, and reporting malicious communications to prevent unnecessary damage. Conduct consistent, up-to-date training on prevalent RaaS techniques such as phishing and social engineering.
4. Proactive detection and protection
In addition to maintaining your cybersecurity software up-to-date, you should deploy endpoint protection and threat detection technology. To guard against RaaS at all times, you must have your defenses functioning continuously, around the clock. Several applications incorporate various intelligent technologies to identify and eliminate ransomware attacks. DatAlert, for instance, informs businesses of possible dangers and gives insights into suspicious activity and events across numerous data sources.