Malicious Services: The Dark Side of the Web

With the advancement of cloud technology, services can now take many shapes and forms, overall creating a far more flexible and efficient way for businesses to use what were previously on premise-only products. Currently, there are three main cloud services adapted for the B2B markets, which are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). There’s arguably a fourth, too: IT as a Service (ITaaS). 

Whilst these cloud services are now used to make businesses more productive and drive success, there are now ‘services’ on the dark web which are used to bring down businesses; the Voldemort of the services world. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘dark web’, it’s basically the digital black market – and as The Lion King’s Mufasa says: “You must never go there, Simba”.

Malware as a Service (MaaS)

Yes, this is actually a thing now.

There are people out there creating malicious coding that can take down a business, which causes downtime and lost revenue, and selling it as a service on the dark web. What’s more, malware is evolving to be stealthier and more destructive than ever.

The average lifespan of malware hashes — the unique identification of a malware variant used by malware detection tools — has shrunken so much that a specific malware variant might exist for just one hour. 

This is indicative of the speed of malware mutation in order to evade detection, and a key reason for gaps in end-point protection measures (i.e. anti-virus software). Malware distribution has evolved from being sold as a one-off security exploit to cloud hosting, where hackers pay to rent or use the virus.

Evidently, cybercrime is on the rise, and this malware as a service phenomenon utilises the cloud in a way that’s different to how businesses are using it. With more and more malevolent services wreaking havoc on businesses, how long will you wait for it to happen to your own business?

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS)

If anyone has seen the film I, Robot, Ransomware works in the same way Nanites do – causing immediate destruction – or in this case, encryption. Adding insult to injury, hackers then demand a payment of bitcoins to decrypt the affected files. Obviously, the chances of any decryption taking place are slim; would you trust someone to live up to their word given that they’ve hacked your business? 

Ransomware in particular has received a lot of attention from the media, due to the huge rise in Ransomware attacks – 2016 alone saw a 3,500% rise in attacks – and the potential cataclysmic effects to businesses. Different forms of Ransomware include:

• Cryptolocker
• Teslacrypt
• Goldeneye 
• CTB-Locker
• Locky

One of the newest Ransomware strains on the block, Popcorn Time (PT) sounds like a fun, watching a film on a Saturday evening type of Ransomware, but it’s particularly insidious. Let’s say you’re hit with PT Ransomware. You’ll be told to either pay up in bitcoins as usual, or you can share it with two contacts in order for your own files to be decrypted. Those new victims must download the Ransomware in order for the recipient to (supposedly) have their files decrypted. It’s a cruel tactic that lets the hackers potentially double their reach.  Ransomware is also now being sold as a service on the dark web, so you can buy a ‘ready to go’ Ransomware package that can infect others and hey presto, you become a malicious hacker.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

DDoS is a huge slap of frustration in the face. An attack consists of making an online service such as a website unavailable by forcefully driving overwhelming amounts of traffic from multiple sources, which bursts the seams of what a website can handle. 

You can purchase one of these attacks for around £150, which will last around a week.
Unsurprisingly, there are more than 2000 daily DDoS attacks worldwide, with one third of all downtime cases associated with a DDoS attack, according to Merrill Research.

Shield your business from the chaos

Evolving digital threats are a bigger concern to businesses than ever before. The more complex computers become, the more advanced the abilities of the hackers will become, which is a double edged sword. 

Security measures in all businesses are going to need a rethink. How will you prevent current threats, and evolving ones? Products like Sophos Intercept X keep your business safe from malware and Ransomware, which can be calamitous to your business. We’re running webinars on Sophos Intercept X, and also business continuity webinars around disaster recovery and backup

When the world comes crashing down, you need to know that you’re shielded from any demolition, or in this case, hackers and malicious intent. Keep your business alive and find out how Sophos Intercept X and business continuity are key to immunising your business from the digital underworld.