Crime As a Service: The Gritty Details & How to Prevent It

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“Crime as a Service” (CaaS): It’s not just a recently ramped up buzzword, it has actual backing and won't quietly fade into the night anytime soon. It’s a service that has the potential to mature into a larger organizational unit, which is telling of the cyber security issues we’ll be up against in the future.

 

I've Heard About It, But What Exactly is Crime as a Service?

Essentially, it’s making a business out of hacking. Just like in any software company, there’s employees and a supply chain. You need hosting for encryption servers, software, payment processes, inventory and a customer service department. (In some cases, even a professional sounding customer service hotline) Like the eBay of the underground hacking world, you go to a website and buy the exploit kits with tools to carry out the attack you want. Every piece has to work and stream together to be successful: Writing code, licensing the software (ex: bank stealing Trojans) and figuring out some way to exchange bitcoin into real money with a system (or someone) they trust.

The dangers are pretty evident. They’re organized and armed with intellectual backing, funds and experience. These exploit kits can execute malware, ransomware and attacks as a commodity, making it a palpable trend in ransomware theft that’s forecasted to rev up in 2017. However, if you cut off or disable any parts of the chain, like any run-of-the-mill org, it stops the business flow and the attack. 

 

So, How Do You Stop It? What's the Link to IoT?

The best place to stop an attack is one of the more obvious ones, and a similar weakness for crime in the “real world.” It’s at any point that involves a validation or transfer of money. Because it’s all about the money, right? And, with the booming IoT world, our portable devices are easier to hack with a “security as an afterthought” functionality. Traditionally simple and with bareboned protection, they make it pretty unassuming to hack into. Why? Because manufacturers want to make them as cheap and fast as possible to turn a profit.

For example, ransomware is the fastest growing segment of CaaS because of your data’s personal value. (and can be done easily with IoT devices) It works because you’re more likely to pay the money to get something significant to you back. With this, the risk to the criminal is low (can be done from across the world) and you sometimes can’t tell you’ve been hacked until the payment request comes. If your thermostat gets hacked, you might not know until you try to change it, can’t, then get a call with monetary demands.  

 

How Can ThreatSTOP Help?

One of the ways ThreatSTOP stops ransomware is by blocking the key to encrypt the hard drive. Because a botnet’s weak point is figuring out infrastructure, we'll stop botnets from looking up a domain name, immediately halting an attack. For information on how ThreatSTOP’s IP and DNS Firewall Services protect against a damaging CaaS attack, visit our website and sign up for a free trial here.

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