Ransomware is a $6.2 million industry, based on sales generated from a network of more than 6,300 Dark Web marketplaces that sell over 45,000 products, according to a report released Wednesday by Carbon Black.
Revenue from these illicit marketplaces soared 2,502% so far in 2017, compared to $249,287 raised in all of 2016, the report states.
"It's surprising how fast specialization has occurred in this industry and how fast it has grown," says Rick McElroy, Carbon Black security strategist.
Among the best sellers on the Dark Web marketplaces include do-it-yourself ransomware kits that range from 50 cents to $3,000, with the median price at $10.50, the report notes. Custom ransomware, meanwhile, costs in excess of $3,000, says McElroy.
"You don't have to know how to code your ransomware to get your business up and running," McElroy says.
Other products include lockscreen ransomware that targets Android devices for $1, custom ransomware that comes with source code for $1,000 or more, and ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) and distribution services, the report says.
The study focused on three tiers that comprise the ransomware ecosystem: tier 1 are ransomware authors; tier 2 is RaaS; and tier 3 are the distributors.
"It was surprising how much you can make authoring ransomware," McElroy says. The findings revealed some ransomware authors earn as much as $163,000 per year, substantially higher than the $69,000 that is usually paid to software developers.
The Dark Web marketplaces also feature a rating system for sellers, similar to that found on eBay, McElroy says.
Takeaway for Enterprises
Carbon Black's survey found 52% of respondents would be willing to pay a ransom if their files and documents were inaccessible.
The survey also says 12% would be willing to pay $500 or more to retrieve their data in a ransomware attack; 29% would be willing to pay between $100 to $500 to reclaim their data; and 59% would pay less than $100 to get their data back.
Enterprises may be able to sidestep a ransomware attack if they had their data secured in a backup. But according to a survey released Tuesday by Mimecast, 88% of the 600 IT decision makers surveyed report that their organizations characterized their existing archiving solutions as problematic.
Nearly 60% of survey respondents list administrative complexity as their greatest challenge, while 56% say their systems were plagued by slow search performance.
"Analysts say a backup strategy is your best strategy against ransomware," says Achmad Chadran, Mimecast cybersecurity strategist.
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Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio