October 2017 | Article

Dark cloud: the threat of ransomware

Canadian Lawyer Online - IT Girl Column

Longtime readers of this column know that I am a huge fan of all things cloud — until now.

Ramsomware is a type of malware that encrypts a target’s software files, forcing them to pay a “ransom” for their decryption. It’s not new — it has been around since the early 1990s — but what is new is the increasing threat posed by the efficiencies of a cloud-based delivery system known as ransomware as a service. RaaS is a criminal variant of software as a service, or SaaS, whereby cybercriminals provide the platform and related ransomware services (everything from delivery to taking payment to tracking the progress of the extortion) for a fixed fee or percentage of the ransom payment. Basically, it has become very easy to just log in to the portal of a favorite RaaS dark web vendor, pay the fees to get started (sometimes as low as $US39!) and distribute malware to their victims without having to actually write their own malicious code. No real technical skills necessary. 

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