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What is ransomware (RaaS) as a service?

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is a subscription-based model that allows affiliates to use already developed ransomware tools to carry out ransomware attacks. Affiliates earn a certain percentage each time they make a successful ransom payment.

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is an adoption of the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model.

In the past, programming knowledge was a requirement for all successful hackers. But now, with the advent of the RaaS model, its technical requirements have been completely relaxed.

Like all SaaS solutions, RaaS users do not even need the expertise or experience to use the tool well. Therefore, RaaS solutions allow even the latest hackers to carry out advanced cyberattacks. The

RaaS solution pays affiliates very high dividends. Since the third quarter of 2019, average ransom demand has increased 33% to $ 111,605, with some partners earning up to 80% of each ransom payment. The RaaS solution is specially designed for victims because the barriers to entry are low and affiliate revenue can be high.

How Does the RaaS Model Work?

For the RaaS should be developet by expert developers having as a goal high chance of penetration success and a low chance of discovery.

Once the ransomware is developed, it`s modified to a multiend user infrastructure. You can then license the software to multiple partners. The revenue model for RaaS solutions reflects SaaS products, and affiliates can sign up with either a one-time fee or a monthly subscription.

Some RaaS solutions do not have financial entry requirements and affiliates can sign up on a commission basis. Ransomware partners are supported in an onboarding document that provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the software to launch a ransomware attack. Some RaaS distributors offer their partners a dashboard solution that allows them to monitor the status of each ransomware infection attempt.

To attract affiliates, RaaS posts to open affiliates in forums on the dark web. Some ransomware gangs, such as Circus Spider, are likely to claim top-notch victims and are only looking for partners with specific technical skills.

Other ransomware gangs are only interested in rapid spread and have very soft partner requirements.

Each new partner will receive a custom exploit code for their own ransomware attack. This custom code is then sent to the website hosting the partner’s RaaS software.

With the updated affiliate hosting site, RaaS users are ready to launch a ransomware attack.

How does the RaaS attack work?

Most ransomware victims are injured by phishing attacks. Phishing is a method of stealing sensitive information such as passwords and payment details from apparently harmless sources. Phishing emails are the most common category of phishing attacks. Since the pandemic, Covid19 themed phishing emails have been flooding inbox. These emails seem very convincing, especially to a panicstricken victim with fragile reservations.

Once downloaded, the ransomware will migrate through the infected system and disable the firewall and all antivirus software. Once these protections are complete, the ransomware can trigger autonomous downloads of additional remote access components.

When a vulnerable endpoint is discovered. Desktops, laptops, or even IoT devices can act as a gateway to your entire corporate network. Ransomware that goes beyond this depth of intrusion can hostage the entire organization.

The ransomware can continue unnoticed, so the victim’s files are encrypted so that they cannot be accessed. Most ransomware programs run in an authorized process, so victims are unaware that a privacy breach has occurred. When the attack is completed, the blackmail game begins. The ransom memo written in the TXT file is stored on the victim’s computer. This memo tells the victim to pay the ransom in exchange for the decryption key.

Some ransomware gangs, such as the cybercrime group Maze, work with the double blackmail model. They demand a ransom payment in exchange for a descriptive key and threaten to publish the hacked data to the dark web if payments are not made on time. Because the dark web is a criminal-infested network, information leaked on the platform gives multiple cybercriminal groups free access to your sensitive and customer sensitive data. The fear of further abuse has forced many ransomware victims to meet the demands of cybercriminals.

To pay the ransom, the victim is instructed to download a dark web browser and pay through a special payment gateway. Most ransomware payments are made using cryptocurrencies, usually Bitcoin, due to their untraceable nature. Each ransom payment is sent to a money launderer who obscures the path of funds, so it cannot be traced back to ransomware developers or RaaS affiliates.

Ransomware: Do I have to pay the ransom? Whether or not you should pay the price of ransomware is a difficult decision. When making payments, trust the cybercriminals and fulfill your promise to provide the decryption key.

Cybercriminal activity is immoral in nature and you cannot trust criminals to maintain some of their morals and keep their promises. In fact, many RaaS partners do not waste time providing decryption keys to all paying victims. It’s better to spend time looking for new victims who are paying.

Ransom payment never guarantees the decryption of seized data, so paying is always risky.

How to Protect Yourself from Ransomware Attacks

The most effective ransomware attack mitigation strategy is a combination of educating staff, establishing defenses, and continuously monitoring your ecosystem for vulnerabilities.

Here are some suggested defense tactics:

  • Monitor all endpoints connection requests and establish validation processes

  • Educate staff on how to identify phishing attacks

  • Set up DKIM and DMARC to prevent attackers from using your domain for phishing attacks. Monitor and remediate all vulnerabilities exposing your business to threats

  • Monitor the security posture of all your vendors to prevent thirdparty breaches

  • Set up regular data backup sessions

  • Do not solely rely on cloud storage, backup your data on external hard drives

  • Avoid clicking on questionable links. Phishing scams do not only occur via email, malicious links could lurk on web pages and even Google documents. Use antivirus and antimalware solutions

  • Make sure all devices and software are patched and updated. Providing comprehensive social engineering training for employees and end users

  • Enact Software Restriction Policy (RSP) to prevent programs from running in common ransomware environments. H. In a temporary folder

  • Apply the principle of least privilege to protect sensitive data.