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Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts the files on a computer. This makes it difficult or impossible to use them, and requires the victim to pay a ransom in order to get them back.

It’s a big business. According to the US government, ransomware attacks are increasing rapidly. They’re now occurring at a rate of 4,000 per day. That’s a huge increase from a decade ago.

Typically, ransomware attacks come in a variety of forms. Some involve a single device, while others spread across an entire enterprise. In the beginning, ransomware was usually limited to consumers, but now it’s becoming a common occurrence in the business world.

Aside from preventing you from accessing your files, ransomware can also encrypt your backup data, making it unavailable to you. Additionally, it’s illegal. You should report the crime to the appropriate authorities. Depending on the level of damage, you may need to pay a ransom to get your files back.

While there are many different types of ransomware, the most common families include Sodinokibi, Cryptowall, and Locky. The most effective solution is to remove the malware from your computer and then restore your system from an uninfected backup.

The most recent version of ransomware, WannaCry, has affected more than 300,000 systems worldwide. Law enforcement has shut down CryptoLocker, but many variants of the Trojan are still around.

In some cases, the attackers haven’t built decryption functionality into their malware. Attempts to decrypt the encrypted files may fail, and your backups may be damaged.