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Ransomware

Ransomware Definition

Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment. The intent is to extort money from victims with the promise of restoring encrypted data. Like other types of malware, ransomware can be spread through email attachments, infected software apps, infected external storage devices, and compromised websites, although a growing number of ransomware attacks use remote desktop protocol and other approaches that don’t rely on any form of user interaction.

Ransomware Key Points

  • Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom to restore access.
  • The attacker typically demands payment in a form of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, to maintain anonymity.
  • Ransomware can spread through various methods, including email attachments, infected software, and compromised websites.
  • Increasingly, ransomware attacks are using remote desktop protocol and other non-interactive methods.
  • Victims are often advised not to pay the ransom as there is no guarantee that access will be restored.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a malicious software that locks and encrypts a victim’s computer or device data, then demands a ransom to restore the data. The attacker usually requests payment in a form of cryptocurrency to maintain anonymity. The victim is shown instructions for how to pay the fee to get the decryption key. The costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, payable to cybercriminals in Bitcoin.

Why is Ransomware Important?

Ransomware is important because it poses a significant threat to businesses and individuals alike. It can cause significant data loss and financial damage. For businesses, this can mean disruption to normal operations and financial losses, while for individuals, it can result in loss of important personal data.

Who Uses Ransomware?

Ransomware is used by cybercriminals and hackers to extort money. These individuals or groups are often sophisticated and well-organized, using a variety of methods to infect systems and networks with ransomware.

When is Ransomware Used?

Ransomware can be used at any time. Cybercriminals often target businesses, government agencies, and individuals, with attacks often occurring when they can cause the most disruption – for example, during busy business hours.

Where is Ransomware Used?

Ransomware is used globally and is not limited to any specific geographical location. As long as the victim has an internet connection and a device that can be infected, they are a potential target for a ransomware attack.

How Does Ransomware Work?

Ransomware works by infecting a computer or network, often through a malicious email attachment or download. The ransomware then encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible. The victim is then presented with a ransom demand, often with a timer attached, and the promise that their files will be decrypted upon payment. However, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in the files being decrypted.

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