When it comes to Bitcoin ransomware, one particular type has been dominating the media headlines. Unlike what some people might expect, Locky is not the most lucrative form of malware in existence right now. Cerber, on the other hand, is on track to rake in US$2m in profit during its first year.
Cerber is A Profitable Ransomware Contraption
Whoever is responsible for creating Cerber will soon be residing on a private island in the middle of the ocean somewhere. Even though Cerber has only been around since early 2016, this particular type of malware has been raking in money like a casino gambler with loaded dice.
What makes this ransomware so particularly lucrative is it affiliate network of distributors. In July alone, Cerber “affiliates” extorted US$195,000 from victims around the world. The Republic of Korea was near the top of that list, though, which may lead to future cyber attacks targeted towards consumers in that region.
On top of that, another US$78,000 was collected by the Cerber developers themselves. To put all of these numbers on a bigger scale, the creators of this ransomware strain are on target to pocket US$946,000. Total earnings could be as high as US$2m, of which more than half will be split among affiliates distributing the malware.
As one would come to expect, all victims of Cerber will have to pay a Bitcoin fee. In most cases, the fee begins at the price of 1 Bitcoin, currently worth around US$577. All ransom amounts will go directly to the developers, who then pass along the remainder after taking their cut. Funds are also laundered through a Bitcoin mixing service to erase any digital breadcrumbs.
These numbers will undoubtedly inspire other malicious actors to give the Bitcoin ransomware business a try. In some cases, the software can be obtained rather cheaply, or criminals can just pay a cut to the developers after spreading their malware. Either way, the ransomware business is booming, and will continue to grow for quite some time.
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