Not a day goes by we don’t hear about another “ransomware” attack, it seems – including high-profile attacks on a major U.S. oil pipeline and the world’s largest meat processing company.
President Joe Biden pressured Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on ransomware attacks to “avoid unnecessary action.”
As the name suggests, ransomware is an attack that locks your computer and demands a ransom to give back your data.
Cybercriminals typically target businesses and governments – in the hopes they’ll pay bounties to release files and perhaps avoid a public relations disaster – but opportunistic crooks also extort money from regular computer users, like you and me. Because hey, it all adds up.
You might sit down to use your laptop or desktop and see an on-screen alert that your computer has been locked or that your files have been “encrypted.” To obtain a decryption key, you must pay up. The ransom demanded from individuals varies greatly, but it's typically a few hundred dollars and must be paid in difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.