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By: Marketing Team on November 22nd, 2020

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Under Attack! Understanding Black Market Ransomware

Social Media | Cybersecurity

Black Market? Ransomware? In this article, you will learn about Ransomware as a Service and how to stay safe. 

What do you think of when you hear the term "black market?" For most people, it conjures images of people buying drugs, guns, or working with criminals or other illegal intentions. However, most people don't consider the vast underground of cybercriminals that deal specifically in ransomware and malware attacks. There is a thriving marketplace for ransomware-as-a-service (Raas) and developers of the software are in a very lucrative position.

A hacker organizing data

The infrastructure around black market ransomware has become as well designed as if it were a legal process. Providers offer updates, technical support, access to servers, and much more, all on different payment plans that work for the individual customer.

According to welivesecurity, one of the ransomware packages offered is Ranion, whose payment model is based on monthly and yearly subscriptions. There are various subscription plans available at different prices, the cheapest being US$120 for just a month and the most expensive being US$900 for a year, which can rise to US$1900 if you add other features to the ransomware executable. 

Understanding Ransomware-as-a-service (Raas)

Creating malware software is a challenge for those of us who are not software developers. However, you do not need to be a developer to deploy the software itself.

Hacking forums and underground marketplaces have exploded with full-blown organizations dedicated to creating and marketing software utilized by cybercriminals to extort businesses and access networks.

This type of software can allow a lazy or unskilled person to simply pay for the ability to target almost anyone.

There are countless ways that someone can exploit you once an attack has been deployed.

  • Access and encrypt files
  • Infect your server and watch for weaknesses they can exploit
  • Search private records
  • Gain credentials to secure areas of your business

The Problem is Getting Worse

Hackers in the old days were not as business-oriented as they are now. Attacks were usually done for notoriety and a way for cybercriminals to show off that they were able to attack a big, powerful organization.

A hacker with a whole network

Now, however, we as a society have allowed malware attacks to become a much bigger problem. Our data is everywhere and keeping files private has become integral in being safe in our modern world.

The marketplaces for these cybercriminals have grown in both size and complexity, and the tactics being used are constantly changing.

We used to see attacks happen as a way to gain clout in the hacker community. Then financial records were being stolen at an unprecedented rate as a way to get quick, easy money.

The next step was to gain access to a network and encrypt as many files as possible. This grew into more concentrated attacks in the healthcare field, as hackers realized that healthcare was more lucrative than financial information alone.

But now there is a new, emerging drive to attack intellectual property.

ContinuityCentral said, where once the goal was mainly to bypass defenses and encrypt as much data as possible, we will soon see examples of ransomware attacks going after incredibly high-value information, such as product prototypes, schematics, and designs. 

This is just the newest evolution in the underground cyber black market, and it will change again.

How Do You Stay Safe?

Everyone online is potentially vulnerable to an attack. Phishing attacks have become harder to spot, and the tools used by hackers are more complex than ever before. It does not take much to accidentally invite something malicious into your computer systems.

It is best to use the tools that are at your disposal to stay safe. This is a combination of knowledge and software that work together to keep you safe.

Some helpful tips include:

  • Learning how to spot common phishing techniques
  • Keeping private information off of social media
  • Using 2FA for extra security
  • Downloaded and updating anti-malware and anti-breach software
  • Encrypting and backing up data

It is also a smart idea for every business to have a robust security infrastructure that stops attacks in their tracks. A great way to boost your organization's vulnerability to cybercrime is to work with an experienced managed services company that knows how to protect against common attacks.

Having a dedicated managed services provider can give you a team of security professionals who can help identify weaknesses, help secure a network, and come up with a response if there is an incident.

Operating without the proper security is just asking for something bad to happen. Nobody is safe online and we are all open to the possibility of a ransomware attack. The black market will keep evolving, so our response needs to keep up with those who wish to do us harm.

Our great team can help identify where your network may be vulnerable and assist in reporting possible threats. Give us a call to learn more about how Intelligent Technical Solutions can help your organization stay safe from a ransomware attack.The ABCs of Malware ebook