The ransomware-as-a-service business model has proven lucrative over the years, but not every hacking group is happy with it. At least not with the current establishment.
The RaaS model is as simple as it is ingenious. The ransomware authors distribute their malware to affiliates willing to do all the legwork and retain a hefty cut of the profits from each successful attack. But taking your malware public also means affiliates are a dime a dozen, and their work can be sloppy. As far as the Nemty guys are concerned, that simply won’t do.
The Nemty Ransomware gang has announced plans to shutter its public RaaS model and switch to a cherry-picking style, where affiliates are sure to be professionals.
As reported by BleepingComputer, a mistake that led to the creation of a decryptor for early Nemty versions prompted its creators to shut down the public ransomware-as-a-service and make it a private operation instead.
“We leave in private. Victims have a week to acquire decryptors, then it will be no longer possible. In a week you can close the topic, do not merge the master keys,” reads a rough English translation of the original forum post in Russian.
To have any chance at recovering their files, victims of the current Nemty variant have to buy decryption keys before the authors take the business private.
According to infosec researcher Vitali Kremez, who was recently targeted by trolls in a data-wiping campaign, Nemty going private means a more exclusive RaaS model that will ensure operations are run by more experienced criminals.