Ransomware and the RaaS Model: The Serious Threat That Every Business Needs to Know About

Kristina Petrosyan
October 20, 2023
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The cybersecurity world has seen a notable increase in ransomware attacks in recent times. A ransomware attack works by encrypting your files after it gains access to your system and keeps them  unavailable until a ransom is paid to unlock them. This cyberthreat has the potential to seriously impair company operations, resulting in significant financial losses and harm to brand equity. 

Sophos, a Forefront partner, found with their "The State of Ransomware 2022" report that ransomware affected 66% of organisations in 2021, an increase of 78% over 2020. The report also found that the average ransom payment increased nearly fivefold in 2021 to reach $812,360. More organizations are also paying the ransom, with 46% of organisations that had data encrypted in a ransomware attack paying the ransom in 2021.

One of the main causes of this recent surge in activity is the novel business concept known as Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). In addition to making cybercrime more accessible, this model has drawn in both experienced and inexperienced hackers. We hope to shed light on the workings of RaaS by answering some questions, explain its growing appeal, and provide useful tactics for protecting your digital environment from these impending dangers through this thorough investigation.

Why is the Raas Model rising in popularity among cyber attackers?

The RaaS model has made hacking easier for would-be hackers, which has increased the threat. With the advent of ready-made ransomware kits available through RaaS platforms, entering the world of cyber extortion has never been easier or more reasonably priced. This model is doing well for a number of reasons:

  1. Accessibility: Anyone with rudimentary computer knowledge and an internet connection can dabble in hacking thanks to the low entry barrier.
  2. Affordability: RaaS providers charge a small monthly fee, which makes it an affordable entry point for people drawn to the seductive world of hacking.
  3. Profitability: There is a good chance to make a significant profit; some ransomware attacks have made millions of dollars. Additionally, RaaS providers receive a portion of the illegal profits, benefiting both the hacker and the provider.

How does the RaaS model work?

The RaaS operational model is simple to use but highly efficient (for educational purposes):

  1. An aspiring hacker acquires a RaaS kit from a provider.
  2. Utilising the kit, they encrypt a victim’s files.
  3. A ransom demand is issued for the decryption of the files.
  4. Upon payment, the hacker decrypts the files, although, there’s no guarantee of decryption even after the ransom is paid.

How can one protect themselves from RaaS attack?

To protect yourself from Raas attacks, you need to employ a combination of preventive actions and ongoing monitoring. Here’s a roadmap to help your self defence:

  1. Regular Updates: Ensuring your software is up-to-date is fundamental as security patches are often included in the latest updates.
  2. Sturdy Security Protocols: Employ strong passwords coupled with multi-factor authentication to create robust barriers against unauthorised access. We partner with Duo by Cisco to provide top-notch, AI-based MFA for our customers and their systems.
  3. Endpoint Protection: Modem endpoint management and protection solutions from vendors like Forefront’s partner Sophos allow you to protect your endpoints and add controls like disabling USB ports.
  4. Email Security: Exercise caution with email links and attachments, especially from unfamiliar sources, as phishing is a common vector for ransomware delivery. Adding a dedicated Email Security solution like from one of Forefront’s partners, Cloudflare or Sophos, allows your organisation to be better protected.
  5. Data Backups: Establish a regular backup routine to safeguard your critical data. In the event of a ransomware attack, this will enable you to restore your files from a clean slate. Forefront partners with Veeam to provide backup and data recovery solutions to our customers.

What if a Ransomware Attack already happened? 

It is important to resist paying the ransom demands if you believe your system has been compromised by ransomware. Making a payment only encourages the attacker's nefarious activities and does not ensure that your files will be restored. Speak with cybersecurity experts, like our teams at Forefront, instead; we can help with system restoration and data recovery. 

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Kristina Petrosyan

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