While many people tend to think of cyber threats as isolated incidents, this isn’t always the case. In fact, it appears that the entire landscape of cybersecurity is changing; in recent years, attacks have even become a part of a thriving underground economy. This is especially true when it comes to ransomware, which many hackers have begun selling as a service to make substantial profits.
So, what is ransomware as a service (RaaS), how could it threaten your business, and what can you do to protect yourself from it? Read on to learn more.
What Is Ransomware as a Service (Raas)?
In the past, those carrying out ransomware attacks needed to know how to create and deploy their own malware. Today, this is not the case. Instead, hackers have realized that they can sell their malware to other cybercriminals. This is known as ransomware as a service. Often, malware developers will charge a portion of the ransom recovered for each attack – or in other cases, they may require a flat fee. Either way, this underground brokerage of ransomware makes it more accessible than ever before.
The Ransomware Economy
When you think of data breaches and other cyber threats, you might imagine a hacker acting independently. Today, however, this is far from the truth. Raas has transformed traditional attacks into a growing community and economy that, according to Threatpost, “has all the conventions of legitimate commerce.” Major malware developers, affiliates, and channel partners all work together to create and sell ransomware – with some operators even having their own publicity and customer service representatives.
What This Means for Businesses
Unfortunately, greater accessibility to malware and ransomware is contributing to a significant increase in attacks across the globe. In fact, recent reports show that ransomware “gangs” earned more than $350 million in 2020 alone. This is a massive increase of 311% compared to 2019.
Because hackers can easily purchase ransomware as a service without previous coding knowledge, almost anyone can carry out one of these attacks. As a result, no matter what industry your business operates in, there’s a greater chance that you may become the victim of ransomware. Major malware developers are treating these attacks as a business, costing real companies like yours hundreds if not thousands of dollars to recover their data. In late 2020, the average cost of ransom demands was a staggering $145,000. Meanwhile, businesses may also suffer from indirect expenses (such as website downtime or lost profits) resulting from these events.
Ways to Protect Yourself
With more ransomware attacks occurring than ever before, it is now even more critical to invest in robust cybersecurity solutions for your business so that you can protect yourself and your bottom line. For starters, everyone within your organization must receive proper training on recognizing and avoiding common cyber threats. This includes phishing schemes as well as ransomware. Education is your best line of defense here.
Meanwhile, if you’re not already using a dedicated server host for your business, now is the time to make the switch. A dedicated server will provide the greatest possible protection from common web threats such as ransomware. You can also use dedicated servers to set up a remote, third-party backup for all your most important files and data. That way, even in the event of a ransomware attack, you’ll still have access to your most sensitive information in another secure location.
The Bottom Line on Ransomware as a Business
The ransomware economy is something everyone who spends time online should be aware of. By following proper cybersecurity tips to avoid these kinds of attacks, business owners can save money – and protect their reputations, too.
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