What is Ransomware as a Service (RaaS)?

What is Ransomware as a Service (RaaS)?

It’s boom time for Ransomware developers, a once in a generation shot at leveraging technological advances against defenseless people and businesses. Like an odious gold rush, where innocent parties are being mined, the triple-digit ransomware increases year-on-year are a sign of the times.


Who Can Execute Ransomware? Anyone!


The world of cybercrime is no longer exclusive to highly trained, meticulous, developers hiding out in darkened rooms, drinking Red Bull. You. Yes! You! Can be the next biggest thing in cybercrime using RaaS. A relatively recent phenomenon, Ransomware as a Service allows anyone with an internet connection the opportunity to get their slice of the cybercrime pie.


But how is it done? By leveraging the latest models in business and technology cybercriminals have empowered anyone with the possibility to distribute Ransomware. Technological advances only hasten its development and increase its ruthlessness.


Subscription models are the changing of the guard, not just for Orange is the New Black on NetFlix and the latest album on Spotify, but also for Cybercrime. The commodification of malware is here and it’s very real. Ransomware was the last great cyber threat; Ransomware as a Service is the next line.


What is Ransomware?


Ransomware is a special type of malware which infects your computer and encrypts your files rendering them inaccessible until you pay a bribe. In the past, this type of execution was only possible by someone with some pretty solid technical skills. RaaS has changed that dynamic, now sophisticated ransomware kits are sold in the darkest recesses of the DarkWeb to any buyer with $50 and unscrupulous motives.


RaaS allows Ransomware authors to host their code on a portal where “affiliates” or “distributors” can deploy it from a dashboard. Many of these codes are free to deploy, with a profit-sharing model agreed which sees a split of all earnings between the developer and the distributor much like a standard affiliate program.


If you are Ransomware author, you might select the RaaS model over the traditional means as you have the opportunity for greater reach (and infection), more stable income and greater flexibility. For a distributor, you need no technical skills to develop or execute the malware and if the code is free to distribute, it’s risk-free to include it in your next email blast.


The Five Stages of RaaS


1. The Ransomware is created.

2. The author promotes the Ransomware on the DarkWeb and other distribution platforms.

3. The buyer purchases the kit OR agrees on a commission rate from an approved dashboard.

4. The buyer or affiliate releases the Ransomware independently or as part of a service.

5. If successful, the computers are infected and the distributor gets to keep the proceeds or split all revenue with the malware’s author.

Aware are happy to help you with advice or solutions for all things cybersecurity-related.

About Sean Allan

Digital Marketing Manager at Aware Group: Working his way through the world of technology and Thailand as best as he can. Happy to contribute to other tech publications.