In a guest post for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Alex Everett, IT Security Architect at Information Technology Services, explains how ransomware works and provides some brief history of its use.
Ransomware is a type of malware that, if successfully installed on a user’s computing device, can severely restrict access to the user’s computer and/or files on the computer.
Ransom is demanded
Typically ransomware does this by encrypting the user’s device, and then demanding that the user pay a ransom in order to obtain the key to decrypt the device.
Ransomware first began to be noticed in Russia after a number of incidents there, but its prevalence has since increased. Currently, it’s safe to say that anyone on the internet could be prey to it.
Hospitals, federal agencies hit
Some of the well-known malware variants identified as ransomware are CryptoLocker and CryptoWall. Recent incidents, according to a report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have involved hospitals, local law enforcement, federal agencies and other entities.
This infographic illustrates how an unwitting user’s computer gets infected with ransomware.