Even though the “cryptojacking” cyber threat has been dominating news headlines over the last couple of months, ransomware is a risk that computer users in the High Desert should keep in mind. The spectacularly damaging WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks that took place in 2017 and 2018 are unlikely to be repeated because information security experts have developed adequate countermeasures, but cybercrime groups are still launching these attacks under a new business model.
The Latest Trends in Modern Cybercrime
Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) and “decryptor” protection rackets two of the latest trends emerging in the cybercrime world. RaaS is a profitable cloud-based malware deployment model operated by organized cybercrime groups, mostly from Russia. In essence, RaaS offers ransomware packages that can be purchased and managed from an online dashboard. The players of the RaaS world include malware coders, platform operators, affiliates, and clients. The prices of RaaS packages range between $45 and $700; affiliates bring clients to RaaS platforms on a commission basis, and clients are expected to provide their own victims.
“Decryptors” Scams Threatens People with Cyberattacks
Speaking of decryption keys, information security experts are warning about the rise of “decryptors” and intimidating emails offering these tools. Decryptors are free tools released by law enforcement agencies and cyber security teams for the purpose of removing the encryption applied by ransomware. Scammers are taking advantage of decryptors by either selling them or sending emails demanding payment from victims even if they have not been affected by ransomware. The rationale of the decryptor protection racket is to scare victims into believing that they are “next-in-line” in a ransomware attack, which they can ostensibly avoid if they pay in advance or purchase a decryption tool.