Ransomware is malicious software that infects your computer and displays messages demanding a fee to be paid in order for your system to work again.
Ransomware is a criminal moneymaking scheme that can be installed through deceptive links in an email message, instant message or website. It has the ability to lock a computer screen or encrypt important, predetermined files with a password.
Typical attacks usually ask for $100 to $200. Other attacks seek much more, especially if the attacker knows the data being held hostage can cause a significant direct financial loss to a company. As a result, cybercriminals who set up these scams can make big sums of money.
No matter what the scenario, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that computer users will be able to fully access their systems again. While some hackers direct victims to pay through Bitcoin, MoneyPak or other online methods, attackers could also demand credit card data, adding another level of financial loss.
Don’t pay the ransom. Keep in mind, you may not get your files back even if you pay a ransom. A cybercriminal could ask you to pay again and again, extorting money from you but never releasing your data.