Understanding the Ransomware Economy


Many people underestimate their risk of falling victim to a ransomware threat. However, there is an entire ransomware economy devoted to scamming businesses around the world. The likelihood of a ransomware attack increases if your business has a significant online presence and lacks security measures, the same way that the more time you spend in the car speeding the more likely you are to get a ticket. Familiarizing yourself with the ins-and-outs of the ransomware economy will help you be proactive in preventing, or recognizing, future attacks before they reach completion.

Ransomware Has Evolved into a Service

Cybercrime syndicates came to the realization that they could officially license and sell their software to affiliates who will use the tech to carry out their own crimes, while providing shares of ransoms to the operator(s). Operators advertise their partner programs on the dark web and always vet the affiliates with whom they do business. This vetting process aids them in the process of weeding out undercover agents attempting to cease their activities. Even if these undercover agents have years of relevant experience and training, cyber criminals of other cultures can still distinguish whether or not they are customary to their culture. It’s indisputable that ransomware has evolved from groups of scandalous deviants into organized syndicates with years of hacking experience.

These syndicates that offer their services make it easy for even the most amateur cyber criminals to commit crimes, conduct fraud, and hold ransoms. Unfortunately, these amateurs instinctually select small businesses as targets with guidance from operators due to the fact that they simply don’t have the resources to utilize security measures that will protect against attacks. If you are a small business, keep in mind that implementing antivirus safeguards may increase your chances of recognizing cyberattacks before it’s too late.

Ransomware Syndicates & Their Operations

Ransomware has evolved into an ecosystem where cybercriminals now operate through a complex business model, in which the operators sell tech to affiliates for profits that result from ransoms. Nowadays, operators are as concerned with customer experience as legitimate business owners are. Some of the most relevant ransomware brands in operation today are made up of over 100 different ransomware variants, making them hard to track.

Unfortunately, lists of ransomware brands created by law enforcement services are often obsolete as soon as they are made. Ransomware brands transition into new brands each and everyday as a way to elude law enforcement. For whatever reason, these brands reorganize every time they suspect a threat regarding their identity. This makes them almost invincible to efforts made by law enforcement to capture and detain them or cease their activities. So, you may be asking yourself, “How can I protect my business?”

Start by Implementing Security Measures

Gaining knowledge of where and how ransomware attacks may originate can assist you in the event of a potential ransomware threat. Generating an understanding that the ransomware ecosystem has a broad scope, ranging from hackers to analysts, will help you in sniffing out potential threats. Always be wary of anything out of the ordinary. See something, say something. It is imperative to the security and the success of your business to consider implementing security measures that will protect against ransomware attacks. Don’t wait until it is too late to protect your business against the ransomware economy!

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