What is Ransomware-as-a-Service?

According to the Allianz Risk Barometer, business leaders worldwide state that cyber incidents, such as ransomware attacks, are their top concern for 2024. Now, more than ever, it has become essential that you understand the many types of ransomware threatening the IT landscape today.

One of these is Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), which, as its name suggests, is a business model in which users pay for a “kit” developed by operators to launch various ransomware attacks on selected individuals or companies. RaaS kits allow individuals with limited technical skills to plan and initiate a cyber attack on a target.

Setting aside morality from the discussion, you could argue that the RaaS model is mutually beneficial and highly lucrative: Hackers can potentially earn a considerable profit without needing to develop their own malware, and ransomware developers can increase their earnings without manually attacking an organization.

This may explain why IT experts classify ransomware as the “most pervasive cybersecurity threat today,” costing businesses over $1 billion in payments worldwide in 2023 (The State of Ransomware 2024).

Malware-as-a-Service vs. Ransomware-as-a-Service

It’s worth noting that Malware-as-a-Service differs from Ransomware-as-a-Service, though they share similarities. While both business models sell the creation and launch of a cyber attack, malware is not the same as ransomware. Rather, ransomware is a type of malware, and not all malware is ransomware.

To recap:

  • Malware is an umbrella term for any malicious software that allows a hacker to perform unauthorized activity on a device or system. There are many ways to protect yourself against malware, including using an anti-malware solution.
  • Ransomware, on the other hand, is a type of malware that takes certain assets hostage. Victims must pay hackers a ransom to return access to their data or assets. Given the ever-increasing rise of ransomware attacks worldwide, you must know how to detect ransomware using automation whenever possible.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from all forms of ransomware is with Ninja Protect.

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How does the RaaS model work?

Ransomware-as-a-Service is similar to the legitimate software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model. Here, RaaS developers, sometimes called RaaS operators, develop and maintain various ransomware tools and infrastructure. These operators then package their tools into a kit and sell it to other hackers, sometimes called RaaS affiliates.

The RaaS model earns money in many ways, including through a monthly subscription, one-time fee, or even profit sharing.

RaaS kits are usually marketed and sold on the dark web. However, there are occasions when a RaaS operator reaches national attention. One example would be the DarkSide RaaS, which gained notoriety for forcing the U.S. Department of State to offer a reward of up to $10,000,000 for any information regarding the crime group responsible for developing it. While it was eventually shut down in 2021, its developers reportedly released a successor RaaS kit, BlackMatter.

Protecting yourself against RaaS

While it is impossible to eliminate ransomware risk from your organization completely, there are various ways to minimize these threats from having any organizational impact. These include:

  • Maintaining a ransomware backup. A working ransomware backup solution can help you recover lost data simply and quickly. Although backups can’t make your data more secure, they can improve your recovery time and lower any costs after a ransomware attack.

NinjaOne offers seamless ransomware recovery that is proven to minimize downtime and strengthen your defenses.

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  • Conduct regular cybersecurity training. It is important that you train all employees in your employees, not only your IT team. This helps educate your organization about common cyber attacks, including spear phishing.
  • Use security tools. Whenever possible, look for a software provider that offers an all-in-one endpoint management software solution that includes various security tools, such as antivirus integration, endpoint detection and response, and patch management.
  • Implement access controls. It’s a good idea to enforce multifactor authentication to prevent ransomware attacks. You should also consider implementing a zero-trust architecture.
  • Have proactive customer support. Work with a vendor known for responding to IT tickets with tailored and knowledgeable responses. While customer support cannot resolve severe cases of RaaS, they can help guide you on the next steps. NinjaOne, for example, is rated #1 in customer support because of its healthy obsession with your success—driving its team to be your partner in growth every step of the way.

Protect your IT company from RaaS

With 41% of organizations stating that they’ve suffered a cyber attack in the last 12 months (Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024), it is vital that you know what a RaaS is and how to prevent it from happening in your IT organization. It is also a good idea to speak with your software provider about how they specifically address RaaS threats.

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