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Ransomeware is an Industry

Ransomware It is a business purely driven by money; cyber-criminals are diversifying their operations, segmenting their target markets while improving their customer service to generate more business.

Typical form of payment requested is in Bitcoin, which the vast amount of victims have no idea what a Bitcoin is. Not to worry, cyber criminals will go through step-by-step, guiding their prey through the process, creating a twisted customer service model.

It is estimated a ransomware generates a 1,425% return on investment. The average extortion runs between 300 to 500 dollars.

Bitdefender recently ran a survey and found the following: 33% of German ransomware victims paid attackers to recover their data, compared with 44% in the UK and 50% in the US. McAfee puts the worldwide figure much lower, with about 7% of victims paying. It is probably somewhere in the middle, which makes it’s easy to understand why ransomware is so attractive to cyber-criminals.

In 2015 ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) market began to emerge in 2015, with multiple variants issued for sale in cyber-criminal forums. With the cost of deploying an attack rapidly dropping you will logically see an explosion of variants to increase the criminal’s chances of success.

Although the frequency of attacks has exploded over the last three years, ransomware has been around for over a decade, mostly targeting developed nations where businesses and individuals are more likely to pay higher ransoms.

RaaS is sold on dark web cyber-criminal forums; RaaS attacks are customisable, offering the capability to select targets and set ransom terms. This enables cyber-criminals who do not have the requisite skills to develop their own ransomware operations tailored to their needs. So basically ransomware for dummies.

While ransomware attacks are increasing in sophistication that does not mean victims are powerless. This section describes steps that people and organizations can take to mitigate the threat, starting with securely backing up your critical data.

Back up your data properly, get a good anti-virus malicious code blocker, and educate your staff. As you, a ransomware victim will be given two choices: pay the ransom, or lose your data.

New dimensions of the ransomware industry are discovered each day,  the overall situation continues to unwrap at an exponential rate. It has gone to the extent that a marketplace has popped up to help facilitate Bitcoin payments between criminals and victims.  As long as this there is high profit and low barriers, ransomware is here to stay, grow and thrive.

Stay vigilant!