What Is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is a form of malware in which cybercriminals encrypt data and victims must pay to regain access to their files. The purpose of this software is to extort money from the victims with promises of restoring encrypted data. Only on payment will they be given the decryption key to access their data. Failure to pay could result in the key being destroyed, rendering the data inaccessible forever.

In a ransomware attack an individual or organization is targeted with ransomware. It can spread to computers through attachments or links in phishing emails, from infected websites by downloading software, or from infected USBs.

Once the computer or network is infected with ransomware, the malware blocks access to the data or encrypts the data. Then the victims are forced to pay a ransom in order to regain access to their data.