Imagine turning on your computer and discovering it — and its contents — are now held hostage by an unknown entity who is demanding payment in exchange for your computer and data.
“Ransomware” is a new form of malware – and it is a worldwide threat for individuals and businesses. This particularly malicious software is designed to lock you out of your computer by encrypting your data. The crooks then demand a payment, typically in a digital currency such as Bitcoins, in exchange for the encryption keys to restore your data.
If you are tempted to think this might not happen to you, consider this:
- Ransomware attacks increased EIGHT-fold in 2016! 4,000 per day were reported to law enforcement — and many more were unreported.
- One in five businesses worldwide suffered from a Ransomware attack in 2016. One in five small businesses never recovered their files, even after paying the ransom demand.
- $99,000 is the average cost of a Ransomware attack for small- and medium-sized businesses.
- Recent estimates indicate that up to 20% of victims pay the ransom.
- Cybercriminals have learned that it is more lucrative and less work to sell your data back to you than it is to steal your credit card numbers and sell them to other cybercriminals.
- The FBI estimates Ransomware is a billion-dollar-per-year crime.