Ransomware: What You Need to Know (Part 1)

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that enables cyber extortion for financial gain. Criminals can hide links to ransomware in seemingly normal emails or web pages. Once ransomware infects a user’s system, it either encrypts critical files or locks a user out of their computer. It then displays a ransom message that demands virtual currency payment in exchange for a cryptographic key to unlock those resources.

Once infected, a victim has little recourse. If they do not pay the ransom within the specified amount of time, the unique cryptographic key is destroyed and all critical files and sensitive information will be lost forever.

Ransomware is not a new type of malware, but it has become increasingly prevalent in recent months because of CryptoLocker and other ransomware variations such as CryptoWall that are crippling business across the nation.