What is ransomware?

Ransomware is “a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system (or server) until a sum of money is paid

Ransomware is a term that is widely used in media reports cybersecurity events, but not everyone knows what ransomware is. According to a dictionary definition, ransomware is “a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system (or server) until a sum of money is paid.” Yes, this is the same type of cyber attack that has impaired the networks of Target, Walmart, Staples, and thousands of other companies over the past few years. It is a targeted attack- usually through email (sometimes through texting)- that cripples a computer and/or network and requires you to pay a hacker (normally in Bitcoin) to unlock your computer or network. 

Does this sound familiar? It likely does. We have heard of hundreds (at least) of instances of ransomware attacks occurring over the past 5+ years, and they are increasing every year. Why are they increasing? Because they are profitable for the hackers. Hackers know that many of these companies do not have adequate backups to get back the data that is being held for ransom, so they know that a good percentage of these companies will pay them before the data is deleted by the hacker. (Yes, in most instances, if you do not pay in a certain amount of time, the data is deleted- forever- from your computer.)