Ransomware is a type of malware that locks, or encrypts, what is deemed to be the user's most important data. Then, the cyber criminals hold this data hostage, demanding a ransom payment in order for the user to retrieve access to their files again.
There is a rash of ransomware hitting the United States. These attacks will only continue to grow in intensity and frequency. It's not just consumers being attacked. Corporations, small businesses and even government agencies are having their computer files held ransom.
Ransomware and cyber security have an inverse relationship. The better the security, the less likely the ransomware will be able to execute. Unfortunately, many of today's antivirus solutions are based on out-dated technology, only blocking files that are known to be bad. With cyber criminals creating new strains of malware every day, waiting for a "bad" classification is not feasible.
Ransomware originated in 1989; however it wasn't until 2008 that the trend began to truly expand. It was then that the hackers were falsifying their identities as the FBI demanding payment for a "fine" for "illegal activities". Unfortunately, the hackers learned how lucrative ransomware could potentially be and has been on the rise since. The last twelve months have shown the most growth in ransomware since origination in 1989.
Ransomware continues to increase in popularity for two reasons; victims are paying ransoms and advances in technology are making attacks easier. Regardless of the type of ransomware, the overall concept remains consistent - extort the user by encrypting their most important data.
Do not pay the ransom. When the ransom is paid, it feeds the ecosystem almost guaranteeing that the attacks will increase in frequency and severity. One of the reasons that you have become infected is because someone before you paid a ransom.
The FBI is the center point for ransomware infections and they need to understand how many people and organizations are being infected and the impact on our country.
Have a professional find the sample and give it to your AV vendor. They can add this sample to their blacklist so others can avoid being infected with this strain. Almost all antivirus vendors have sample sharing arrangements, so once you report it, it is their responsibility to disseminate the sample to the other blacklists.