The Evolving Threat of Cybercrime as a Service

Cybercrime as a Service

A popular business model in the IT industry is the offering of various software and infrastructure as a service to customers who may not have the finance or expertise to set up such a system. Some applications of this model include software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service which are widely used by various businesses to simplify their business processes while leaving the maintenance and upgrade of IT infrastructure in the hands of the service provider. Unfortunately, cybercriminal gangs are quickly adopting a similar business strategy to distribute and market malicious tools in a process known as Cybercrime as a Service (CaaS).

What is Cybercrime as a Service

Cybercrime as a service or Crimeware as a service is the practice of offering malicious products and services to other criminals in the cybercrime ecosystem. It covers a wide array of tools and services that malicious actors can buy or lease to carry out cyberattacks against targets.

Cybercrime as a service also includes sharing knowledge of undisclosed vulnerabilities in software applications, pre-made tools for breaching business systems and servers as well as full-spectrum fraud as a service platform that comes with potential victims’ list, customer support, quality assurance, and upgrades.

The growth of the dark web facilitates the development of cybercrime as a service platform. It enables cyber-criminals to sell malware, custom exploit kits as well as the infrastructure needed to launch various types of cyberattacks. In addition, the dark web facilitates the laundering of stolen funds generated from such sales.

Any aspect of cyberattack that can be automated is a good candidate for cybercrime as a service platform. This allows hacker masterminds to create subscription services on the dark web that any interested customers can buy and use for their illegal operations.

Consequences of Cybercrime as a Service

Advances in technology especially in the area of automation make it easier for security professionals and system administrators to monitor and manage systems. However, the same development also helps cybercriminals to execute malicious campaigns effortlessly.

These advances make sophisticated hacking tools more accessible to cybercriminals regardless of their technical skills. With the low barrier to entry, any would-be cybercriminal can acquire the necessary tool to launch a massive attack against an organization or individual.

The cost of organizing and executing a cyber attack has reduced significantly with the introduction of cybercrime as a service. Hacker groups can charge a cheap flat fee for service purchase or subscription and still be profitable as the running cost is shared among all customers. Criminals from other backgrounds can easily transition into cybercrime with this arrangement.

Cybercriminals can just purchase the tools provided by criminal gangs and use their own custom tactics and techniques in order to spread malware to unsuspecting victims. Cybercriminals may also have access to local servers where they can use the purchased tools.

This lucrative model has attracted several criminal gangs who specialize in developing tools and do not bother with the actual use of their malicious technologies.

Cybercrime as a service model is especially dangerous when applied to ransomware distribution. It expands cybercrime operations and increases pressure on security professionals by facilitating the transformation of any criminal into cyber extortionists.

How to Protect Your Business from Cybercrime as a Service Users

1. Setup Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication for your business will help harden it against compromise.

As an additional layer of security, it will serve as a stumbling block for hackers even if they manage to obtain the login credentials for your server.

With MFA in place, hackers will be dissuaded from breaching your organization’s servers and instead look for weaker targets.

2. Use Complex Password
A strong password must contain a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters with a length of at least 15 characters. A strong password is difficult to crack and an effective barrier against account takeovers.

3. Create a Contingency Plan
You cannot predict how or when your business might be affected by a Cybercrime incident. Hence, it is important to prepare for such by creating contingency plans such as incident response and disaster recovery plans.

Such plans will help you mitigate the effect of a cybersecurity breach should it occur.

4. Engage Employees in Security Awareness Training
One of the most effective ways of protecting your business against the surging cybercrime as a service wave is by educating them about the mode of operations of cybercrime actors.

When your employees know the methods used by hackers to compromise systems, they can be on the lookout for your business’ security and ensure that suspicious activities are detected, blocked, and reported promptly.

5. Infrastructure Inventory
Unmanaged assets are a security risk to any organization. All your organization assets both physical and virtual must be inventoried and incorporated into cybersecurity plans to protect your business systems and servers from attackers.

More organizations will become targets of cyber attacks thanks to the increasing cybercrime wave fueled by the proliferation of cybercrime as service platforms.

In this increasing threat environment, preventive measures such as those discussed above are essential for making your organization unattractive to hackers and preventing business disruption.

At SDTEK, we can help you implement robust cybersecurity measures that will reduce the risks of cyberattacks against your business. Get in touch with us to discuss your business’s cybersecurity needs.

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