The Hidden Threat of MaaS: Technical Skills Are Not Required

Technical Skills Are Not Required (1)


The constant threat of malware is always on the minds of Outseer’s fraud prevention specialists. Moreover, malware-as-a-service (MaaS) represents an existential threat to financial institutions and their customers for the simple fact that it is difficult to stay ahead of. Yet there is a hidden threat that makes MaaS even more dangerous: the fact that extensive technical skills are not required to use it effectively.

MaaS tools are available for both sale and rent on the dark web. The fraudsters who develop MaaS will even rent the infrastructure to customers who want it. Therefore, all it takes is a basic level of understanding to leverage rented malware to infect the devices of unsuspecting users and steal their information.

A Ready-Made Platform

MaaS is essentially a ready-made platform easily deployed and equally easy to take down in order to avoid detection. The three main families of malware are ransomware, infostealers, botnets, loaders, and back doors. All are easily deployed through MaaS solutions.

Kaspersky studied the prevalence of MaaS solutions last year and discovered that, from 2015 through 2022, ransomware MaaS products represented the largest family by volume. But the most frequently utilized solutions were infostealers.

The infostealers are what concern fraud prevention experts the most. Anyone with basic skills can rent an MaaS solution and use it to steal credentials at will. Fraudsters can use everything from websites to YouTube videos to launch their attacks, attacks that often go unnoticed until the damage has been done.

No One Is Truly Safe

Outseer’s Maximilian Gebhardt highlighted two prevalent malware products in a November 2023 post discussing how they safeguard against stolen credentials with FraudAction. He referenced the Realst malware campaign targeting Mac users through a variety of means, including blockchain games on social media.

Meanwhile, Windows users were targeted with a similar scheme using the RedLine Stealer malware. Fraudsters merely took advantage of internet users’ dual tendencies to utilize social media and play online games. Both malware schemes targeted messaging applications, web browsers, crypto wallets, and more.

Just these two attacks alone demonstrate that no one is truly safe. And the fact that anyone with basic skills can rent an MaaS platform only increases the risk of being victimized by a fraudster.

A Lower Barrier for Entry

It is time to take MaaS seriously if for no other reason than the fact that it lowers the barrier to entry for cybercrime. Every new MaaS platform that appears on the dark web represents a new risk for financial institutions and their customers. It is a risk that can only be mitigated through proper security techniques, thorough research, and a commitment to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters.

Demonstrating the need to get serious is data suggesting that some 560,000 new pieces of malware are detected daily. Estimates suggest there are now more than one billion total malware programs out there. While companies are falling victim to ransomware, individual consumers are being victimized by infostealers. Much of it is being facilitated by easy-to-use MaaS solutions.

A Proactive Approach Is Best

A proactive approach is the best approach to fighting MaaS. That is partly the motivation behind Outseer’s webinar entitled, ‘Unmasking Info-Stealing Malware and Credentials Recovery with FraudAction’. Decision makers throughout the financial services industry would do well to take advantage of it.

Malware is a serious enough threat on its own. It is a greater threat when it is leveraged through MaaS. Now that virtually anyone with basic knowledge and an internet connection can rent complete MaaS platforms, it is more difficult than ever before to stop them without a proactive approach.

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