Ransomware Sales Exploding on the Dark Web
According to International Business Times (IBT), a new study was released confirming a significant rise in demand for the malicious software, ransomware. The study showed 6,300 websites offering ransomware, with an additional 45,000 ads promoting the malicious software. The price points ranged from $0.50 to $3,000. The large variation in prices is due to the content the buyer would receive. Ransomware variants, sold as a standalone product, are selling at a minimal cost. This is because the hackers also have to integrate the malware code into an execution method, set up a payment method, and establish a decryption tool — if they wish to offer a decryption feature. The higher price points are for ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). This includes not only the malicious software, but also the distribution channels, payment portals, and decryptor tools to unlock files.
IBT also reported,
“The year-to-date figures for ransomware sales in 2017 shows total revenue at $6,237,248.90. By comparison, the sales figures from 2016 for ransomware didn’t even crack a quarter of a million, totaling $249,287.05. That marks a total growth in sales of 2,502 percent.”
How to Stay Protected
In order to keep your data protected from the growing threat of ransomware, it is important PC users follow these basic steps:
- Keep your operating system up to date.
- Ensure all programs, including the security solution, is updated.
- Implement application whitelisting.
- Be on the lookout for phishing attacks. These are emails from fraudulent senders which include malicious attachments or links.