Ransomware is an ever-growing threat, and Ransomware as a Service plays a big part in its supremacy. But what is it exactly, and what can you do to defend yourself or your company?
In this article, we’ll walk you through a complete guide on what Ransomware as a Service is and tips on how to stay away from it.
What is Ransomware as a Service?
Ransomware is a unique and hazardous form of malware from cryptovirology, capable of causing significant financial damage to victims. Hackers use this extortion software to encrypt your data, deny you access to your files or your entire computer, and provide you the decrypting key only in exchange for a ransom ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
Usually, payments to cybercriminals are made through anonymous and untraceable methods, such as Bitcoin.
Ransomware is constantly being written and modified by its developers to avoid being detected by typical antivirus programs based on its signature.
Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is a business model in which ransomware developers rent it out to affiliates. It’s similar to the legitimate Software as a Service model.
The affiliates can use the ransomware however they like, usually in exchange for a percentage of any profit made from using it. So it’s a win-win situation, where both parties make more money than they would on their own.
How Does Ransomware as a Service Work?
Developers create ransomware, and then they choose whether to rent it out to others, use it themselves, or both. By opting for the RaaS model, they make the software easier to use and advertise it on the dark web.
The developers don’t need to worry about finding victims anymore, and the affiliates don’t need to know how to make ransomware. RaaS is profitable for its creators because most cybercriminals aren’t really computer experts.
Those who wish to rent out RaaS have to pay a 20-30% of their profit. Some developers also charge a monthly access fee for their products. Some RaaS groups even have professional negotiators on staff and follow traditional business practices such as customer support, training documentation, and refund periods and policies.
How Do Attacks Happen?
Most ransomware attacks start with a phishing email.
Phishing is a cunning cyberattack in which ill-intended email senders masquerade as a trustworthy person/entity to get ahold of the victim’s data and money, a “fishy” play-pretend, pun intended. But, of course, the bigger the company, the more it will draw unwanted attention, and the more complicated the consequences of such an attack may get.
This form of online fraud uses subtle and deceitful social engineering tricks that enable cybercriminals who know which psychological button to push to steal the victim’s sensitive data, which is far easier than breaking through a computer’s or a network’s security system. Some of these emails are really easy to fall for because they’ve been specifically tailored to the target.
Another RaaS attack vector is outdated software. The bad guys know that many organizations sometimes skip updating their software, leaving their systems vulnerable. Once hackers locate such a company, planting ransomware is a piece of cake.
How Can You Protect Your Company From Ransomware as a Service?
All organizations should have strong policies in place to avoid falling victim to ransomware. Here’s our list of five tips to protect your company from ransomware attacks:
1. Update Software Regularly
Make a priority of keeping software updated at all times. Usually, organizations avoid updates due to the fear that something might go wrong and they will lose data. While this is never off the cards, the cost of a successful ransomware attack is much higher.
2. Provide Security Awareness Training For Employees
Don’t underestimate the power of a solid security awareness training program in your company. Your employees will be able to spot malicious emails and know how to handle them.
Also, it’s always a good idea to ask your employees to use strong, unique passwords and password managers.
3. Segmentate All Networks
If an attacker infiltrates a network, their ability to do further damage is a question of where they can go from the breach point.
Therefore, to limit the potential damage, you should consider dividing your networks into segments and giving your employees access only to the information they need to do their job.
4. Backup Your Data Regularly
Even with the best precautions taken, a ransomware attack can still hit when you least expect it. That’s why it’s advisable to perform regular backups and store your data offline.
5. Use Antivirus Software
All your employees’ work devices should be protected with an antivirus solution. Many ransomware attacks use software that a good antivirus suite will flag and prevent from doing further damage.
Should You Be Worried?
The good news is that the evolution of RaaS makes it less likely for private individuals to become targets.
That changes if you’re a business owner, for ransomware has evolved into a significant threat to organizations of all sizes. And with more ransomware creators adopting the RaaS model, we can only expect it to get worse.
You can successfully defend your business partly by training your employees on cybersecurity matters and especially phishing attacks, and partly by adopting more rigorous security measures, such as implementing multi-factor authentication and user behavior analytics.
Most ransomware attacks have one thing in common: their infectious vector – phishing emails.
ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you equip your employees with the necessary security knowledge and up-to-date security practices to keep your company safe from scammers and avoid potentially irreparable damage.