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The Unseen Threat of Malware as a Service to Veterinary

By February 28, 2023February 16th, 2024No Comments

One of the emerging issues of 2023 in the cybersecurity theatre has been the ability of cybercriminals being able to access professionally made tools they can use to compromise the computer systems of their intended victims. Access to these tools has been made possible by the use of malware as a service (MaaS), which provides cybercriminals with personalized online accounts they can use to rent malware such as ransomware, trojans, keyloggers, viruses, worms, adware, spyware, e.t.c.

At its core, MaaS is a type of cybercrime that operates as a legitimate software-as-a-service (SaaS) business by providing tools and services that cybercriminals are looking for. They are able to provide web-based services such as a slick user interface and tiered subscriptions. For its paying customers, they are able to access other communication channels, such as Telegram and newsletters. In most cases, their branding, marketing, and customer services are almost indistinguishable from their legitimate SaaS counterparts.

Malware as a Service Through the Lense of Veterinary practices

As seen from the above definition of MaaS, cybercriminals can now easily access professionally made tools that can be able to compromise complex computer systems. The ease of access to hacking tools has given the power to cybercriminals who are willing to go after any victim, regardless of size, as long as they make money from their criminal activity.

To understand why malware as a service threatens veterinary practices, below are the top five cybersecurity threats posed by cybercriminals using such platforms:

Launching ransomware

Ransomware is a subset of malicious software (malware) that is capable of encrypting data, holding the data hostage, and then requesting victims to pay for a decryption key that can help them access their data. In the past few years, ransomware attacks targeting veterinary practices have become very common, resulting in data loss and, in some cases, financial losses through payments made by practice owners to cybercriminals.

Traditionally, ransomware attacks were carried out by professionals who were able to code and launch these attacks. Therefore, they mostly focused on large organizations, which they were assured would pay huge amounts. However, with the continued growth of malware as a service, ransomware attackers, who are not skilled, have found the tools they can use to compromise their victims. Due to the easy accessibility of these tools and the cheap services offered by MaaS platforms, which in some cases, amount to just a few hundred dollars, cybercriminals using the services are not shy of going after industries that had previously been ignored by ransomware attackers. This has included industries such as veterinary practices, that has seen a surge in ransomware attacks in the past few years.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Launching a DDoS attack is resource intensive, which in the past has kept industries such as veterinary practices safe, as cybercriminals failed to see the need to launch such types of attacks. However, the emergence of malware as a service has changed the scope and landscape of launching DDoS attacks.

By pooling resources together, cybercriminals running MaaS services are now able to offer botnet services to ‘small-scale’ cybercriminals looking to overwhelm websites and networks with traffic, causing them to go offline. By using these services, they are able to reduce the costs involved in launching such a complex attack. Therefore, most cybercriminals are willing to now go after industries that, traditionally, had been ignored, such as veterinary practices, a phenomenon we have seen in the past few years.

Gathering Intelligence

Having a competitive edge in the industry is something every practice owner strives to achieve. With the continued success of MaaS platforms, cybercriminals have started using them to collect and aggregate intelligence on organizations, which they repackage and sell as legitimate business plans.

For instance, last year, there were reports of malware as a service product known as Pegasus that was being rented to governments and big organizations for espionage purposes. Such tools can become readily available for just a few hundred dollars to cybercriminals using MaaS. The impact of such access is also a refocus on other industries, such as veterinary practices. Therefore, the continued growth of malware as a service continues to pose a threat in the field of surveillance of veterinary practices and practice owners, whereby competitors can buy data illegally acquired using intelligence-gathering tools. There is also a high likelihood of practice owners becoming victims of espionage for hackers looking to compromise their practices.


Personal Information

Malware that steals personal information from users is now easily accessible by cyber criminals. Therefore, the chances of your veterinary practices getting compromised and data such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords getting stolen.

The worst part about MaaS is that acquiring such a tool comes at a low price, which has given many criminals, who would otherwise not have been able to carry out cyberattacks, the ability to launch them and cause damage to veterinary practices.

Distributing Spam and Phishing Campaigns

Phishing is regarded as one of the most effective methods of launching a cyberattack. It involves tricking victims into providing sensitive information such as usernames, emails, passwords, social security numbers, or credit card details. To achieve this, phishing mostly uses emails designed to stand out as legitimate, tricking users into clicking them. When done correctly, victims are directed to websites that also look legitimate, where they provide access to cyber criminals.

Through MaaS, cybercriminals are able to rent malware that is capable of creating phishing emails, running them to completion, to the point where they launch the cyberattacks. The MaaS platform also provides cyber criminals with the ability to use spam bots to send out unsolicited emails that are used in phishing attacks and spreading malware.

Veterinary practices have also been targeted by these tools, which are acquired through the malware as a service platform. Therefore, these platforms will continue to threaten veterinary practices, and there is a high likelihood that the next time a phishing email is sent to you, it will come from a spam bot acquired in these platforms.


As seen from the above analysis, the threat of malware as a service is becoming an increasingly significant threat to veterinary practices in 2023. . With MaaS, cybercriminals have easy access to professional tools that enable them to launch complex cyberattacks on organizations of all sizes. The availability of these tools has enabled cybercriminals with minimal hacking skills to launch attacks such as ransomware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and phishing campaigns.

Therefore, as veterinary practices continue adopting technology, extra care and concern for cybersecurity must also be emphasized. With the number of cybercriminals willing to compromise them increasing, it is also important for veterinary practices to seek professional cybersecurity experts when making decisions on the types of IT products they use on a daily basis.

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