Russian organised crime and Ransomware as a Service: state cultivated cybercrime
Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) has become one of the most significant threats within the cybersecurity landscape, with a ransomware attack occurring every eleven seconds. Despite the growing awareness around RaaS within the cybersecurity community, there is currently a lack of research regarding the factors that have contributed to its growth, specifically, the factors that have contributed to the cultivation of RaaS within Russia by the Russian state. The thesis seeks to review the evolution of Russian organised crime from its beginnings in the USSR to its growth into the leading player within the RaaS space whilst examining Russian politics' role in this evolution. Furthermore, Russian ransomware's history and rapid development are examined, notable landscape shifts are identified, and their connection with the state are explored. The thesis will discuss the historical, socio-technical, and political influences that have contributed to the growth of Russian organised RaaS groups and the implications of these influences within Russia. The value of this work is to inform and educate those within the cybersecurity community on the factors influencing the rapid growth of RaaS, highlight where the RaaS threats originates and emphasise the non-technological influences of cybercrime offending.