Term: ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that denies access to all or part of the information on a computer, and demands payment of a fee, or ransom, to regain access.

Typically, ransomware encrypts a significant portion of the computer’s hard drive so it’s no longer accessible to the user. The encryption is often a strong public key encryption that is practically impossible to defeat. Once the ransom is paid, the person or people behind the malware may offer a method to decrypt the data and restore access… or not, simply taking the money.

It’s important to realize that ransomware is simply another form of malware, and is often delivered in the form of a virus or trojan. As such, it’s best avoided by all of the same techniques that one uses to avoid any malware: up-to-date and properly configured security software and settings, keeping your system up-to-date, and using safe online behavior.

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