Once upon a time, to infect someone’s computer with a worm or a virus, you’d have to code it yourself then figure how to actually get it onto someone’s system. Oh sure, since the internet’s dark days, instructions on how to assemble everything from a spambot to a keylogger was out there, but you at least needed to know some of the basics of working with code.
Now, however, the alarming trend of Ransomware as a Service (RaaS), an offshoot of the increasingly popular Software as a Service (SaaS), is more prominent.
Ransomware as a Service opens the realm of data hostage taking up to anyone with a credit card. If your data lives within a compromised network, hackers can block you from accessing this data until you pay to have them go away. Ransomware as a Service further spreads this use of technology by making it easier for scammers to access, block legitimate users, and collect payment from unsuspecting targets.
Ransomware Programs: Mapping the Web of Ransomware Services
A high-profile ransomware, Cryptolocker, encrypts important files and documents on your computer, then demands money if you want them back. Cryptolocker opened the door for similar viruses, and there’s now a slew of copycats doing similar lock-outs.
Recent reports claim that a whopping 50% of US companies have experienced a ransomware attack.
If that wasn’t bad enough, now this tech is affordable, easy, and available. Ransomware as a service couldn’t be easier: register on a website, customize it to your liking, deploy it against your victims, and wait for the Bitcoins to start rolling in.
One such example is the Satan RaaS, a fairly new player that allows users to register and track the success of their investment. In return, the developers of Satan pocket 30% of any successful ransom payments. It’s ridiculously user-friendly in a way that many SaaS sellers fail to provide.
Ransom for Revenge: Internal Sources of Ransomware
Major hackers don’t use widely available RaaS programs that require payout to the original developers. Instead, professional hackers generally develop their own ransomware virus and keep all the profits.
So, who are programs like Cryptolocker for? Anyone with a motive to do harm.
Any employee served a pinkslip can use the last of their network access to pull the pin on a virus and walk away with money or the feeling of smug vindication. Any enterprising student could earn a day off by propagating a virus on their school’s unsecure network.
Those are pretty scary prospects. Anyone deficient in moral fiber can now create a revenue stream from everyone’s cyber-misery. Authorities will no doubt crack down on distributors and users of this software, but the bag of chips has already been opened, and a ceaseless number of copycats will follow.
How to Protect Against Ransomware: Back up Your Data
Protecting yourself from Ransomware is simple: back up your data! Back it up frequently and in different locations. Back it up where no one can reach it, except in an emergency.
It doesn’t take much for all your important files to become encrypted, and that can be catastrophic if you’re not careful. Ransomware has the potential to get even bigger, and conventional means of protection are proving ineffective, so make sure you’re prepared and can recover quickly.
Talk to the professionals at Just Fix It about how to back up your data and keep it safe from ransomware. Our private cloud and managed services are designed to keep your operations unimpacted by any/all security issues.