Criminals profit from ransomware. It works — it pays. But knowing how these gangs work can help us prepare for the next ransomware onslaught.

Criminals profit from ransomware. It pays off and works, just like all malware on the Internet of Things.  In the previous year, phishing or ransomware is the subject of a recent Trend Micro survey. Phishing or ransomware hit 84% of US businesses. It costs nearly $500,000 to ransomware. They want to keep profiting. For example, they’re even setting up bogus firms to recruit prospective workers. They sell ransomware kits as a service on the dark web.

Many ransomware gangs have marketing departments, websites, software development, user manuals, forums, and media relations. What’s preventing ransomware gangs from multiplying and expanding their “companies” if they can operate with zero costs and huge profits? But knowing how these gangs work can help prepare for the next ransomware onslaught.

How Does Ransomware as a Service Work?

Ransomware assaults are increasing as thieves find it simpler to start attacks. For example, attackers may even obtain pre-made ransomware packages with everything they need to strike. The dark web offers ransomware kits as a service, similar to SaaS. Above all, criminals may use Ransomware-as-a-Service kits to start assaults without technical understanding. Malicious actors often subscribe to monthly malware kits. They are given a chance to earn commissions by promoting the malware creators’ services.

Ransomware perpetuation is lucrative — and hard to track.  Most RaaS packages include user forums, 24/7 technical assistance, user reviews, and future discounts. The design of RaaS kits is to reduce technological hurdles while remaining affordable. However, some ransomware kits retail for just forty bucks each month. Above all, it is difficult to trace and identify these ransomware producers because they are not initiating the assaults. Regrettably, researchers foresee an increase in RaaS in 2022.

Ransomware Gangs Work

Ransomware is big business. WOULD YOU BELIEVE ANNUAL REVENUES ARE OVER $400 MILLION? The gangs now have sophisticated websites, marketing campaigns, how-to videos, and even white papers. However, these gangs and operations are well-known in the black and white hat communities and on the dark web. Others, though, come and go, frequently with new kits.

As an associate of a prominent ransomware gang, would-be criminals may start an attack. They collect a lower percentage of their victim’s payments. Some gangs may provide an easy-to-use attack monitoring interface. At the same time, others prefer to deal with more sophisticated hackers. According to Emsisoft Threat Analyst Brett Callow, gangs are increasingly exploiting ex-filtrated data in more severe ways.

They don’t just dump stuff on the dark web, he added. Gangs utilize the data to contact consumers or business partners. Or to leverage non-public knowledge about mergers or IPOs. The FBI just published a PIN about the danger.

Some Good News on RaaS Defense for the Enterprise

The cybersecurity news is usually bleak. So it’s nice to start with some good news before laying out the best defensive methods. Today’s risk-to-reward ratio is more risk and lower reward, Callow stated. Authorities gave a few black eyes to threat actors through arrests, bitcoin recovery, infrastructure damage, and reward.

Plus, Callow’s team of security professionals has been aggressively investigating a high-profile ransomware gang, helping victims recover their data without paying a ransom. However, despite startling advancements, it will still exist in 2022. In other words, a strong ransomware protection plan can only help the enterprise’s cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, a solid backup plan is the backbone of such an approach. Backups should be frequent. Less data loss means more regular backups. Moreover, business owners and people should keep backups on many devices in various locations.

Aside from backups, these are the crucial aspects of a good defensive strategy:

– Adopt zero trust and least privilege. Meanwhile, according to IBM Security X-Force, a zero-trust approach restricts user access to just what they need to execute their duties.

– Test workers. Testing personnel with fake phishing emails reduces the odds of getting phished with a genuine ransomware email.

– Patch often. Maintaining an aggressive patch management program helps thwart attackers who utilize zero-day vulnerabilities to launch ransomware assaults.

– Modify default passwords. A default password is one of the simplest methods for a bad actor to acquire login and access.

Authorities recommend MFA.

In other words, MFA isn’t a fail-safe with password-only protection, but it may make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful attack.

– Update your anti-virus and endpoint security because ransomware is continually changing. Business owners or anyone with a computer must update software often. Additional endpoint security solutions should detect untrusted programs and suspicious activity.

– Remove/limit/prohibit executable email attachments. Organizations commonly set up email gateways to scan ZIP files but not strip or remove executables. In short, this allows attackers to circumvent other endpoint security measures. Moreover, it promotes a safe culture.

Risk often diminishes when everyone takes an eager interest and is encouraged to engage in security concerns throughout your company.

Featured Image Credit: Saksham Choudhary, Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is an editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind, Editor in Chief for Calendar, editor at Entrepreneur media, and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.