Ransomware as-a-Service (RaaS) Explained

Ransomware as-a-Service is making cyber crime all too easy. Now, criminals don’t have to create this malicious type of software. They can essentially use it for a minimal cost and pay the developers a cut, a percentage.

Ransomware is computer software that criminals maliciously installed onto computers, cellphones, and other devices. The software typically enters through a Trojan horse designed as a legitimate file. The ransomware then takes over the user’s device or key components by encrypting it, rendering it useless. The software can only be made useful, or decrypted, through the use of a cryptography key which the criminals behind the attack charge a great deal of money for. Businesses are usually told to pay within a specific time or they will lose the ability to use their software forever. Ransomware criminals extort millions and millions of dollars from businesses worldwide.

What is RaaS?

Ransomware as a service is simply a way for the cyber criminal to rent the ransomware’s software by attacking a business’s site and then, if and when the ransom is paid, giving the original developer a percentage – typically somewhere between 5 to 25 percent. The balance of ransom, known as a “script kiddie” goes to the cyber criminal who employed the attack.

The individual or entity that uses the infection generally pays a small upfront fee–$39 is a standard amount—to use the ransomware creator’s malware. Many creators let the criminal use the ransomware for free, as the kickback is the creator’s real incentive. With their purchase, the attacker gets access to hacking tools and education on how to use the ransomware, as well as how and who to target.

The cyber criminal typically accesses the ransomware or connects with the ransomware creator through what is known as the dark web. Some ransomware developers even promote their products boldly on YouTube. Ransomware victims pay the ransom through the use of Bitcoins.

How to respond to RaaS

The short-term, easy way to respond to ransomware attacks is to pay the ransom. The problem is that there’s nothing to deter the cyber criminal from repeating the attack, other than that the victim has now been alerted to the need to make security a number one priority. Some other ways businesses can respond are:

  •       Using guaranteed protection software. Some companies offer software that they guarantee will protect against RaaS attacks or the company will pay the victim a predetermined amount of money.
  •       Make backups. Take continual backups so that data and software can be immediately installed to prevent business downtime in the event of an attack.
  •       Use a cloud-based service. Cloud-based services have the multiple aims of providing the most sophisticated defenses against ransomware attacks and enabling replacement systems to be up and running as soon as possible.
  •       Educate. Teach all users of your technology to recognize a ransomware attack and what steps not to take, such as opening attachments without knowing the source. Email attachments are the most common way ransomware attacks occur.
  •       Be alert to insider attacks. Disgruntled employees or workers inside the company are some of the most likely RaaS users. They don’t have time to create the malicious software, but they do have knowledge of how the company software is used – making it easier for the Trojan horse to enter the company system.

Learn how to protect your IT systems by calling experienced technology consultants today

Ransomware attacks can ruin a company. Sadly, RaaS makes extortionist attacks almost seem like child’s play. The best defense is to avoid the attacks in the first place. Our data center professionals keep current with the malicious ways criminals try to attack businesses. We strive to keep ahead of the criminals by preparing the most up-to-date defenses.

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