The Cerber ransomware could have a projected revenue of more than $2 million (£1.5 million), according to new analysis. Researchers from Check Point found that the ransomware as a service (RaaS) has more than 160 active campaigns, with eight new ones launched every day.

In July alone, their report revealed it affected around 150,000 victims in 201 countries and territories. The predicted revenue from current campaigns is $2.3 million (£1.8 million), with the usual ransom demanded from each victim standing at one Bitcoin (£444).

The experts uncovered an intricate system used to launder Bitcoin ransom payments, using tens of thousands of wallets to make each transaction almost impossible to track. At the end of the web, the authors take the money and give their affiliates their cut.

Check Point also found the cyber criminals behind the ransomware are making it increasingly easy for would-be attackers to get in on the scheme.

It uses a set of assigned command-and-control servers and “a convenient control panel available in 12 different languages”, the researchers said.

“This research provides a rare look at the nature and global targets of the growing ransomware as a service industry,” said Maya Horowitz, group manager for research and development at Check Point. “Cyber attacks are no longer the sole essence of nation-state actors and of those with the technical ability to author their own tools.

“Nowadays, they are offered to anyone and can be operated fairly easily. As a result, this industry is growing extensively, and we should all take the proper precautions and deploy relevant protections.”

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