"Ransomware on the Rise - FBI and Partners Working to Combat This Cyber Threat"
by Jeroen Barendse
What is Ransomware?:
Ransomware refers to a type of malware that locks down a users computer and then asks the user to pay a ransom in order to unlock the computer.
How it works:
An alarming looking message pops-up, usually claiming to be from the FBI or another federal agency. The message informs users that they have violated a federal law and their computer will remain locked until they pay up. Traditionally users were asked to pay with pre-paid cards to unlock their computers, but according to the FBI, there are increasing number of instances that require the user to pay with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that attracts criminals due to its anonimity. Often, even if a user pays the ransom the malicious person(s) will just increase the ransom to extort more money. The two most alarming ransomware iterations so far are called "CryptoLocker" and "CryptoWall."
How to protect yourself at home:
To read the full article from the FBI go to fbi.gov
This image, taken from wctechblog.com, shows an example of what a ransomware pop-up might look like.