What is Ransomware
Ransomware is a specific type of computer malware typically in the form of a virus or trojan. When a computer is infected with ransomware, it blocks access to your data by encrypting it. Hackers then request a ransom and may threaten to publish or delete your data unless paid within a short time frame. After the ransom is paid, the data is usually returned via decryption although not always.
While not a new concept, ransomware came on strong in 2013 with CryptoLocker. Supposedly, the creators of CryptoLocker earned around US$27 million. With that kind of money being made, even illegally, ransomware quickly became a way to get rich. This problem isn't going away anytime soon.
Untraceable currency in the form of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin has made the scheme far less risky for the perpetrators.
User-friendly website services have sprung up that allow anyone to create and distribute ransomware and even help collect the money!