When we hear of ransom, we immediately think that a person is being held hostage until certain
monetary demands are met. While such instances hold true in the real world, the same can be said
about ransomware in the fast-moving world of computers and the Internet.
Ransomware, also known as scareware, is malicious software that restricts access to an infected
computer while displaying a notification making demands for the computer user to pay a fee to restore
access to the infected system. Recent ransomware, such as
are known to encrypt files, which locks up an infected computer making it virtually useless for
performing basic functions or surfing the Internet.
Ransomware poses a serious threat since it can affect MS Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. The strength
of the encryption can lock important files such as images, videos, audio, PDF files, MS Office files,
and other types of files and apps. FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) claims that between
April 2014 and June 2015, victims reported losses totaling over $18 million.
Ransomware will ask that a substantial fee is paid for the decryption of the files to restore them
back to their original state. However, paying for the ransom does not guarantee that the computer
user will regain access to the infected computer.
Most ransomware will make a false claim of online criminal activity or immoral acts
detected by authorities. While the claims proved to be false, the threat is very real and could
end up costing you a lot in the long run. The extortion price varies, ranging from
USD$20 to more than USD$600, but may be much higher.
The technical challenges presented with ransomware are vast. Such malware infections put
your system's resources at risk and could result in a total loss of your data if
the threat is not addressed or removed.