Ransomware is a term used to described a particular kind of malware. All variations of ransomware attempt to extort money from the user of the infected PC. Some of the early versions disguised themselves as anti-virus software and tricked the user by claiming that the PC was infected and could only be cleaned if the user purchased the software. Recently, ransomware has become even a greater threat with the advent of encryption versions. The encryption variation attempts to encrypt the data files on the infected PC. It may also encrypt data files on network shares. After the files are encrypted, the ransomware then opens a window on the infected PC demanding payment for the encryption key to unlock the data files. This payment demand also includes a time limit for this payment to be made. If the payment is not made within the time limit, the encryption key will be destroyed and the encrypted files will be permanently lost. Cryptolocker was one of the first and most common of this new ransomware strain. Fortunately, the Cryptolocker infrastructure has been disabled, but new variations continue to be detected.
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