The Growth of Cybercrime-as-a-Service

Learn why you should worry about Cybercrime-as-a-Service (commonly abbreviated as either CCaaS or CaaS) and what you can do to protect your business from highly organized and sophisticated criminal elements.

Cybercrime jumped 22% in 2023, costing a staggering $12.5 billion worth of losses, according to the FBI’s 2023 Internet Crime Report. To give you a sense of scale, NASA’s Perseverance rover mission to Mars cost a total of approximately $2.7 billion. This means you could fund five Mars rover missions with what cybercriminals stole in 2023. Unfortunately, cybercrime has quickly risen to a level where it affects every person and organization, regardless of financial status, etc. And this rise is in no small part due to CaaS–quite possibly the fastest-growing criminal enterprise the world has ever known.

What began as a few highly skilled hackers in a tiny corner of the dark web has quickly evolved into a large-scale outsourcing business. Cybercrime-as-a-Service (sometimes also called simple “Crime-as-a-Service”) or CCaaS/CaaS is described as a highly organized and commercialized skill trade (you might even call it a “business model” or “service model”) where cybercriminals, malware developers, and other threat actors sell their cybercrime services to their “customers,” putting the power to conduct data breaches into the hands of anyone who can afford it (often members of organized crime or state-sponsored bad actors).

 

How does CaaS/CCaaS work?

CaaS/CCaaS operators have ganged up with like-minded organized crime syndicates to leverage their services or platform in exchange for a fee or profit-sharing. This criminal partnership has reached a level of complexity and sophistication as the organizations they target.

With CaaS, a customer with criminal intent does not need to have any technical knowledge or coding skills to launch an attack. The CaaS vendor performs all the groundwork to launch a successful cyberattack (for a fee, of course).

CaaS vendors are dangerous elements organized like legitimate businesses. The public should beware that CCaaS employs highly capable developers and engineers to manage the technical aspects of their toxic product. They go as far as hiring tech support representatives to resolve queries. A typical CCaaS service offering includes money-laundering services for stolen payments and bulletproof hosting to help customers evade law enforcement if their services or hardware have been discovered to be behind an attack.

 

Should you worry about CaaS?

Virtually anyone with malicious intent can attack your business and customers for a small monthly fee. So, yes… you should be worried. CaaS/CCaaS customers have access to phishing kits, trojans, hosting services for scam websites, and even tools for credential theft, sometimes for as little as $50.  CaaS’s low barrier to entry makes it easy for criminals to perpetrate malware and ransomware attacks at scale, including the following:

  • Engage in cyber extortion by stealing sensitive information or proprietary data using spyware and then threatening to leak it or sell it online unless a certain amount is paid.

  • Launching distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attacks to crash a target’s website or software.

  • Send phishing attack emails by purchasing “phishing kits.”

  • Install keyloggers on victims’ devices with spyware.

  • Steal money from digital currency wallets, bank ATMs, etc. using victims’ data taken via various hacking tools.

 

Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS)

According to Infosec Magazine, the sale of malicious software or Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) alone has grown into a booming $20 billion business in 2021 for cybercrime organizations. MaaS targets large enterprises with critical or sensitive assets – which is known in the industry as “big game hunting.” MaaS offers access to botnets that distribute malware through a ‘pay-and-use’ model. Think of it as adopting the ‘software as a service’ for non-technical cyber criminals.

 

Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS)

RaaS is the creation of ransomware software for cybercriminals, who then target victims and deploy the ransomware. Once the cybercriminals collect their ransom, they pay a royalty back to the original creator. Security Boulevard describes the operation where criminal ‘helpdesks’ and ‘end user support’ services collect royalties by negotiating the ransom demand and providing the victim with assistance in purchasing bitcoins or other popular cryptocurrencies to pay the ransom.

 

How should you respond?

The reality is no one is spared from cyberattacks. Cybercrime-as-a-service threats will most likely intensify and there is no magic bullet that can stop it. However, businesses could be well prepared to mitigate attacks with Cybersecurity Incident Response Service (CIRS)—an in-depth approach to cyber defense that’s beyond skills and technology and provides the following:

 

Readiness & Protection

A reputable CIRS can demonstrate a clear plan for preparing, responding and insuring against incidents. By connecting the business with the right insurance carriers, the CIRS provider should be able to clear the pathway to a swift recovery. 

Completing readiness assessments in the underwriting process is just one of the more helpful features of a comprehensive CIRS service offering. An ongoing security posture monitoring data delivered to both brokers and carriers could be included in the service level agreement for good measure. This is to determine premiums and coverage levels during policy renewal.

 

Successful Governance, Risk Management, & Compliance

By laying out the organization’s unique vulnerabilities, CIRS can enforce and establish the technology, practices, policies, and procedures to secure the infrastructure and its applications. Managed security services and risk management interface, provide CIRS an in-depth visibility of security controls, events, and levels of service. With radical transparency of the entire ecosystem, businesses will easily meet compliance requirements and immediately resolve any issues.

 

Post-Incident & Long-Term Recovery

CIRS provides ongoing training and Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services to ensure the attacker doesn’t regain entry. It may also assist with strategic planning to improve the overall security posture. The bottom line is, a capable CIRS provider should be able to support your reputational recovery needs and solve security gaps in the long-term.

 

Protect Your Organization from CaaS

With ever present cybersecurity threats and cybercrime seemingly on a never-ending rise, it can be hard to know if you have the right security measures in place to protect both your professional and personal data. UDT is a security service provider with the technical expertise and threat intelligence tools needed to ensure your organization is equipped with the appropriate security solutions and information security services to help modern organizations survive in today’s constantly broadening threat landscape. Contact UDT today to find out how our team of security experts can help safeguard your organization’s precious data.

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Experiencing a security breach?

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RECOMMENDED IMMEDIATE NEXT ACTIONS

  1. Determine which systems were impacted and immediately isolate them. Take the network offline at the switch level or physically unplug the systems from the wired or wireless network.
  2. Immediately take backups offline to preserve them. Scan backups with anti-virus and malware tools to ensure they’re not infected
  3. Initiate an immediate password reset on affected user accounts with new passwords that are no less than 14 characters in length. Do this for Senior Management accounts as well.

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