Ransomware is increasingly becoming a problem for companies, and the CEO of a leading computer security company says he fears 2017 could see entire companies shut down until they pay up, or risk losing all their data.
Ransomware works by infiltrating a computer with malware and then encrypting all the files on the disk. The user is presented with a limited time offer: Lose all your data or send money with the promise your data will be unlocked. The fee typically varies from a few tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars and often has to be transmitted in Bitcoin.
The problem began on a fairly small scale, targeting individual users, but has been growing. Last year, a hospital in Los Angeles admitted to paying $17,000 to get its system unlocked, and a report in October said ransomware cases were on course to quadruple in 2016 over the previous year.
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