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HomeNetworkingRansomware-as-a-Service (RaaS): Definition & Examples

Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS): Definition & Examples

Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is a pay-for-use subscription mannequin on the darkish internet the place builders license out malware to different events to execute focused ransomware assaults. 

RaaS is marketed on the darkish internet with various worth factors the place anyone can merely login and purchase ransomware kits off-the-shelf to launch an assault. That is what makes RaaS so harmful, as even a novice hacker with restricted coding expertise pays and use already-developed malicious software program to launch focused assaults. As soon as the hacker will get entry into the goal group, they use malicious malware to exfiltrate and encrypt information after which use double extortion methods to blackmail the group.

International ransomware injury prices are predicted to value round $265 billion (USD) by 2031. It’s this lure of large financial good points that has led to the emergence of newer and extra subtle methods like RaaS.

How ransomware-as-a-service works

The RaaS mannequin includes two events: builders and associates. Builders are answerable for creating and leasing out ready-to-use code to different attackers known as associates. Associates are those who launch the ransomware assault. As soon as the associates efficiently ship the payload, they obtain a proportion of the ransom cash.

Associates are skilled on technical particulars and supplied with detailed guides on launching ransom assaults. These associates are additionally supplied with 24/7 help and entry to group boards.  

RaaS kits could be purchased:

  • For a hard and fast month-to-month price
  • For a one-time license price
  • On an affiliate foundation, with criminals paying a decrease month-to-month price whereas the service supplier retains about 25% of the ransoms
  • On a revenue sharing or “no ransom no price” foundation

Whereas focused ransomware gangs use quite a lot of techniques to realize entry to unsuspecting customers’ networks, phishing emails are probably the most frequent strategies of concentrating on a sufferer’s community. These emails include contaminated hooked up Phrase paperwork, and when an worker clicks on the malicious hyperlink, the malware will get downloaded routinely.

Phases of a RaaS assault

A RaaS assault takes place in a number of levels, starting with preliminary entry and continuing to unfold all through the community earlier than exfiltrating and encrypting information, and at last demanding a ransom.

  1. Preliminary entry stage: This is step one, the place customers are tricked into clicking on an contaminated file.
  2. Command and management: As soon as contained in the community, the malware connects to the hacker’s command-and-control heart and establishes communication.
  3. Staging: On this stage, the ransomware establishes a foothold, and privilege escalation happens. It steals credentials and good points entry to crucial belongings of the community.
  4. Growth: In growth mode, the ransomware begins lateral motion and spreads all through the community. When the attackers have sufficiently contaminated the community, they will then proceed to extortion.
  5. Information exfiltration: Information exfiltration is a standard method of contemporary ransomware assaults. Dangerous actors exfiltrate information and use double and even triple extortion strategies to blackmail firms to present in to their calls for.
  6. Information encryption: As soon as information exfiltration is finished, attackers use a mix of symmetric and uneven encryption to render the info ineffective.
  7. Ransom be aware: The assault ends with the supply of the ransom be aware requesting the cost phrases and a risk to share the exfiltrated information if situations aren’t complied with.

Examples of ransomware-as-a-service

Though many types of RaaS are by nature secretive and always evolving, some have gained sufficient notoriety to be broadly identified as a consequence of their success in executing large-scale assaults. Some examples embrace DarkSide, LockBit, REvil, and Ryuk.


DarkSide is a cybercriminal group that sells RaaS to different hackers in trade for income. DarkSide first emerged in August 2020 and rapidly unfold to over 15 nations, concentrating on organizations throughout a swath of industries. 

This is similar group that was answerable for the Colonial Pipeline ransomware incident, which accurately introduced the East Coast to a grinding halt.


Launched in 2019, LockBit is likely one of the most harmful malware round. Whereas initially this group remained within the shadow of different well-known gangs like REvil and Ryuk, it got here into the limelight within the second half of 2021. And by the primary quarter of 2022, it had already grow to be probably the most broadly used ransomware variant. 

If we go by the gang’s claims, they’ve focused over 12,125 organizations. LockBit is infamous for utilizing double extortion methods the place they steal the info after which threaten to publish confidential data if the group doesn’t pay up.  


REvil, or Sodinokibi, is a RaaS variant shaped in 2019 that’s answerable for quite a few high-profile ransomware instances. Examples embrace the JBS USA case, the place the meals processing firm needed to pay $11 million ransom cash in bitcoins, and the Kaseya assault that compromised over 1,000 firms. 

Other than the standard methodology of encrypting information and demanding cash, REvil additionally makes use of double extortion methods of threatening its victims to leak the stolen data in public if the ransom quantity just isn’t paid.


Ryuk is a human-operated focused ransomware that assaults high-value establishments like media retailers and authorities businesses which have the aptitude to pay massive sums of ransom cash. 

Originating in 2018, Ryuk makes use of open-source instruments and handbook hacking strategies to realize entry into methods. As soon as the info is encrypted, the Ryuk group calls for a ransom in bitcoins. 

To this point, the gang has earned over $150 million in ransom, making it probably the most infamous within the commerce. Whereas it isn’t clear who owns Ryuk, it’s generally attributed to Wizard Spider, a cybercrime group primarily based in Russia.  

defend your self from RaaS assaults

Fortunately, there are methods to defend your group from ransomware assaults. Listed here are some finest practices you possibly can implement to stave off legal assaults.

Safety consciousness coaching

You could prepare your employees to spot ransomware assaults. For that, you need to conduct complete safety consciousness coaching that features figuring out social engineering methods and phishing emails, in addition to participating in penetration exams and safety talent exams to be usually up to date primarily based on the most recent RaaS threats.

Community segmentation

As soon as malware enters your laptop, it will possibly rapidly infect the complete community by way of lateral motion. Thus, it’s sensible to section your community into smaller sub-networks in order that even when it will get contaminated, you possibly can isolate infections to as few machines as doable.

Comply with a zero-trust strategy to safety

Zero belief safety is an strategy that works on the precept of not trusting any system or particular person until authenticated. Steps embrace verifying customers, implementing multifactor authentication (MFA), and permitting least privilege entry to restrict the blast radius of criminals attempting to realize unauthorized entry.

Replace usually

Hackers are all the time seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in methods and networks. Be sure that your working methods and software program are up to date and patched usually to forestall hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities. Additionally, encourage your workers to make use of sturdy passwords and make it a behavior to vary them usually.

Carry out common backups

It may be tough to decrypt information that has been encrypted by ransomware; due to this fact, you need to again up your information at common intervals to a number of areas. Thus, even when your methods get hacked, at the least you’ve gotten a clear copy of your information residing elsewhere.

Endpoint safety

Endpoints function a straightforward level for hackers to interrupt into your company community. Thus, securing endpoint units is crucial to take away any weak hyperlinks. Put measures in place to trace all endpoint units and run endpoint safety software program in order that your safety operations groups can spot a ransomware assault.

Often Requested Questions (FAQ)

By means of summarizing a number of the factors of this text, listed below are a number of fast questions you or your workers might need about how RaaS compares to different ransomware or malware fashions.

What’s a ransomware-as-a-service mannequin?

The ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) mannequin is a subscription-based system designed to supply newbie hackers entry to ready-made ransomware code to simply launch ransomware assaults with minimal programming. They’ll achieve this by shopping for RaaS kits from the darkish internet.

How fashionable Is ransomware-as-a-service?

Cybercriminals are more and more utilizing RaaS to extort ransom cash from hundreds of organizations of each dimension. In reality, the variety of RaaS and different extortion teams grew by 63.2% through the first quarter of 2022 when in comparison with the earlier 12 months.

Backside line: Defending towards RaaS assaults

Ransomware operators are adept at bypassing the safety defenses of even the biggest organizations. In such a state of affairs, it pays to be additional cautious. Whereas there is no such thing as a strategy to fully forestall ransomware, organizations can undertake a hypervigilant strategy and shore up their safety defenses in order to reply properly to cybersecurity incidents. 

Be taught extra in our ransomware collection:

Already been focused? Listed here are the finest restoration options to get your information again as rapidly as doable.



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