SecurityThreats

Ransomware As A Service

Nowadays,  cybercriminals have access to various tools and services that allow them to launch sophisticated attacks easily. One such type of attack is ransomware, which has become increasingly common in recent years.

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is a new business model that has emerged in the past few years. Cybercriminals can easily launch ransomware attacks without any technical expertise.

What Does Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) Mean?

RaaS is a type of cybercrime where cybercriminals offer ransomware tools and services to other criminals. This allows even novice hackers to launch sophisticated ransomware attacks. RaaS providers typically offer their services through underground forums or the dark web. They will often advertise their services as “easy to use” and “turn-key,” requiring little to no technical expertise.

In return for using their services, RaaS vendors typically take a cut of any ransom payments made by the attacker. RaaS has become increasingly popular recently, allowing criminals to launch sophisticated attacks without investing in developing their malware. This has led to a proliferation of new ransomware families and an increase in the number of attacks. Ransomware as a Service is a growing threat and is likely to evolve and become more sophisticated.

How Does RaaS Work? 

By creating malware that has a low chance of being discovered and a high chance of being successful, skilled ransomware developers can support a cloud-native architecture that can purposely build their malware with a multi-end user structure and licensing scheme. By doing this, the developer can increase the chances of the ransomware going undetected while also providing an easy way to monetize their malicious software with multiple affiliates.

For a RaaS operation to be successful, the developer must have access to a: botnet for distribution, a cryptocurrency wallet for payments, and a command & control server (C&C). Additionally, the developer needs to create detailed instructions on how to use their ransomware to maximize its potential. While some individuals may believe that RaaS is not as profitable as other methods of cybercrime, it can be argued that it is more stable and less risky in the long run on which a person can solely rely.

What Happens In A Ransomware Attack?

In a RaaS attack, the cybercriminal obtains a ransomware kit from a RaaS provider. This kit contains all the necessary tools and instructions for launching and executing attacks. Once the cybercriminal has the ransomware kit, they can distribute it to their victims through various methods. This article will take a closer look at RaaS and how they work.

Why Is RaaS Dangerous?

Ransomware-as-a-Service, or RaaS, is a growing trend in cybercrime. RaaS allows anyone, even those with limited technical skills, to launch ransomware attacks. All they need to do is pay a subscription fee to a RaaS provider in the RaaS market. In return, they receive access to all the tools and support they need to carry out an attack. The ease with which RaaS can be accessed is one of the main reasons it is so dangerous.

It means that even amateur criminals can cause a lot of damage. Another reason why RaaS is dangerous is that it is constantly evolving. RaaS vendors always develop new ways to evade detection and encrypt data. This makes it very difficult for security teams to keep up with an incident response. As long as RaaS continues to grow in popularity, it will remain a major threat to businesses and individuals.

5 Examples Of Recent Ransomware-as-a-Service Exploits

RaaS is a type of malware that allows cybercriminals to launch ransomware attacks without technical expertise. Ransomware operators will give them access to their tools and infrastructure in return for a cut of the ransom. This business RaaS model has become increasingly popular recently, with new RaaS attacks emerging regularly. Here are five examples of high-profile RaaS affiliates from the past year.

DarkSide 

On May 7th, 2021, Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut down operations after it fell victim to a ransomware attack. The attack was carried out by a group known as DarkSide, which is believed to be affiliated with REvil (another well-known RaaS provider). After encrypting Colonial Pipeline’s systems, the Dark web threat actor demanded a $4.4 million ransom payment in exchange for decryption keys.

Dharma 

Dharma is one of the older money launderer RaaS families, first emerging in 2016. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that Dharma switched to a RaaS delivery model. Since then, it has become one of the most popular RaaS vendors on underground forums. One of Dharma’s unique selling points is its “double extortion” capability, which allows it to encrypt victims’ systems and steal sensitive data simultaneously. This allows Dharma RaaS attackers to blackmail victims into gaining access to their valuable data even if they choose not to pay the ransom note demand.

LockBit 

LockBit is a relatively new RaaS provider that first appeared on underground forums in early 2020. It quickly gained popularity due to its ease of use and ability to escalate privileges automatically once inside a target network. This makes it possible for even novice attackers to successfully launch ransomware attacks against large organizations with rigorous patch programs.

Maze

Maze is another well-known RaaS provider that has been active since 2019. Maze operators differentiate themselves from other ransomware affiliates by threatening to publicly shame victims who refuse to pay the ransomware payments demand by sharing their personal data online. This tactic has successfully pressured many organizations into paying the ransom, although there have been some notable exceptions.

REvil 

REvil emerged in April 2019 and quickly established itself as one of the most popular RaaS providers on underground forums. It made headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic after launching a successful $11 million ransomware attack against JBS USA—the world’s largest meat processing company—in June 2021.

The REvil ransomware developer threatened to release JBS USA’s sensitive data unless they paid the ransom demand within three days. JBS USA decided to pay for ransomware payload rather than risk having their sensitive data leaked online, and they finally got the decryption key.

How To Prevent Ransomware-as-a-Service Exploits?

With the rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect your organization from this type of phishing attack. Here are five things you can do to help prevent RaaS exploits from ransomware threats:

Educate Employees About Latest Phishing Tactics

Phishing emails are one of the most common methods used by RaaS operators to deliver ransomware. By teaching your employees about the latest phishing tactics, you can help them to identify phishing attacks from ransom notes and avoid clicking on malicious links or opening attachments that could infect your systems and leak data.

Consistently Back-Up Data

One of the best ways to protect your data from ransomware and ransomware variants is to have a recent backup that you can restore from if needed. Make sure to back up your data regularly and store the backups offline or in the cloud storage so they cannot be encrypted by malware or other sites.

Automate Updates

Keeping your software updated is one of the best ways to prevent ransomware infections, as many threat actors exploit vulnerabilities that have already been patched. Automating updates and having antivirus software can help to ensure that your system’s data is always up to date and protected against the latest threat landscape with the help of malware developers.

Follow The Latest Practices Of Network Segmentation 

Segmenting your network into smaller, isolated zones can help to limit the spread of infection if ransomware does manage to get onto your systems. Keeping critical systems on separate networks can minimize the RaaS expands damage caused by ransomware attackers.

Consider Risk Management Platforms 

A risk management platform can help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your infected system and mitigate them before an attack occurs. Using a platform like this can help reduce the chances of falling victim to a RaaS attack.

Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) attacks are on the rise, which means it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect your organization and its critical infrastructure from this type of attack of ransom demands. Following the tips can help prevent RaaS exploits and keep your organization safe from ransomware code.

The Different RaaS Revenue Models

Ransomware-as-a-Service, or “RaaS,” is an online service that allows ransomware gangs to launch their ransomware attack with little to no technical expertise. In return for providing this service, a RaaS operator typically takes a cut of any ransom payments made by the victim. These include the monthly subscription model, affiliate programs with RaaS operators, one-time license fee models, and pure profit-sharing models.

Monthly Subscription Model

Under the monthly subscription model, users pay a flat monthly fee to use the RaaS platform. In return for this access, the RaaS software operator receives a small percentage of every successful ransom paid by the victim.

Affiliate Programs

With an affiliate program, a small percentage of profits (typically 10-20%) from each successful ransom payment goes back to the RaaS operator. The goal of running an affiliate program is twofold: first, it allows the RaaS operator to recoup some of the costs associated with running the service; second, it provides an incentive for users to promote the service to others.

One-Time License Fee

With this model, users pay a one-time fee for access to the RaaS platform with no profit sharing and custom exploit code. Access is then granted in perpetuity; users can continue using the platform indefinitely without renewing their license or paying any additional fees.

Pure Profit Sharing Model

Under this business model, profits are divided among users and operators according to predetermined percentages upon the license purchase. This model incentivizes users and operators to work together towards common goals; since both parties stand to gain (or lose) financially from each attack launched using the platform, there’s an increased likelihood that everyone will work together harmoniously towards successful ransom payment.

There you have it! Those are the four different revenue models used by RaaS operators today. Each has its advantages and disadvantages; ultimately, the best RaaS model for you will depend on your specific needs and goals.

Summing Up!

So, now that you know what ransomware as a service is, how it works, and how to prevent RaaS affiliates, you must take strict measures to save your organization from being victims of such RaaS attacks. Also, you must keep a check on the different types of malware so that you can fight against the latest threat landscape. Lastly, you can also use a risk management platform to help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your systems and take steps to mitigate them before an attack occurs. We hope this article was helpful to you.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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