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RaaS: What Are These Kits

Imagine a threat actor determined to target YOUR data and finances. It would take a LOT of time, effort and money to build ransomware code all on their own, let alone to build a whole email campaign convincing you to fall for their tricks…Now imagine they could simply buy ransomware off the Dark Web, completely ready-made to launch against you?

Unfortunately, that’s a very real scenario. These “kits” are called ransomware-as-a-service, and they’re exactly as dangerous as they sound.

RaaS is becoming more accessible and affordable, making it easier for less skilled criminals to launch ransomware attacks. We can expect to see an increase in RaaS attacks targeting smaller businesses and organizations.

RaaS kits are essentially cybercrime starter packs that make launching ransomware attacks accessible to even novice hackers.

Just like the services to which you subscribe, these so-called ransomware kits have different perks depending on which one the buyer chooses. Some are sold are fixed prices and bought like any regular exchange. Others are sold on monthly or annual subscription bases, and can provide everything from regular updates to 24/7 support from your favorite dark web supplier. You can even get deals for recruits others to buy the same kit, like the commissions you might get at your sales’ job or referral bonuses on your favorite app!

Once the target has been infected, RaaS encrypts victim’s data just like a regular ransomware attack, rendering it inaccessible and demanding ransom for decryption. Some kits even offer features like target selection, attack scheduling, and ransom negotiation tools! Really advanced RaaS packages allow tweaking encryption algorithms, ransom messages, and even create unique malware variants.

As always with ransomware, therein lies the inherent danger of double extortion. This tactic involves not only encrypting a victim’s data but also exfiltrating it and threatening to release it publicly if the victim does not agree pay a second fee. The likelihood of them paying the bad actor increases with every added pressure, but the worst trick is that payment does not guarantee the return or secrecy of your data. Threat actors can, and most often do, run off with all your information and your money regardless.

Researchers constantly discover new RaaS operations, with established players like LockBit, REvil, and Dharma holding major shares. Some offer simple point-and-click functionality, while others cater to seasoned cybercriminals with complex customization options. Evolving threat technology leads to stealthier and more potent ransomware strains, all of which makes ransomware harder to detect and remove.

The accessibility of RaaS expands the pool of potential attackers, thereby raising the likelihood that YOU will encounter ransomware at some point in your online adventures.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Perform regular backups and software updates.
  • Use strong passwords and store them in a secure Password Manager.
  • Regularly refresh your annual Security Awareness Training.
  • Research and invest in robust anti-malware and endpoint protection software that stays up-to-date against evolving threats.
  • Educate yourself about ransomware tactics and have a plan for recovery in case of an attack.

Remember: RaaS is a growing threat, but we’re not powerless. By staying informed and practicing essential cybersecurity measures, we can significantly reduce the risks posed by these malicious toolkits.