Video: Think cybercriminals are happy about the rise of ransomware? Think again
The total value of ransomware sales on dark web market places has rocketed from $250,000 to over $6m in just a year, as demand for the file-encrypting malware grows.
Ransomware has hardly been away from the public eye this year, with global the outbreak of WannaCry making it a bringer of global chaos, while prominent ransomware families like Cerber and Locky continue to be a thorn in the side of organisation around the world.
Researchers at Carbon Black monitored dark web forums for offerings of ransomware and have estimated that the marketplace has grown to be worth $6,237,248.90, representing a 2,502 percent increase in the sale of ransomware since 2016.
Analysis by Carbon Black researchers has calculated that some ransomware vendors are making more than $100,000 a year, simply by selling ransomware -- and unlike legitimate software developers, it's highly unlikely ransomware vendors will be paying tax on their earnings.
"They are pulling in these salaries by selling one of several components of the ransomware supply chain or by selling complete, do-it-yourself, ransomware kits," Rick McElroy, security strategist at Carbon Black, told ZDNet.
"The overall ransomware economy is expanding into goods and service, much like the regular markets we participate in during our daily lives."
Because of this specialisation, The Ransomware Economyreport warns, ransomware attacks are more likely to succeed -- especially if threat actors take the time to customise attacks for specific targets, or even distribute kits which enable even those with no skill to do so. That means the power to attack is in the hands of anyone looking to make illicit profits.
"We don't expect the ransomware market to slow down until businesses and consumers take the threat seriously. As long as there's money to be made, cybercriminals will keep attacking," says McElroy.
While some cybercriminals are going all-in on ransomware, a recent report says senior figures in the ransomware fraternity believe that the number of amateurs getting involved and carrying out poorly implemented campaigns is going to lead to the downfall of the malware as a money-making tool.
Ransomware is an escalating, increasingly sophisticated threat--and no one seems to be immune. This ebook looks at how the malware works, who it's affecting, steps to avoid it, and what to do if you're attacked.