MailSafi Glossary of Terms
Malicious software (malware) designed to block access to a computer system or computer files (say by encryption) until a specified sum of money (ransom) is paid to the attacker. Normally, users are given instructions on how to make payment to get the decryption key. The decryption key is a mathematical key usually only known to the attacker. Payment is often payable in Bitcoin to the cybercriminals. Upon payment of the ransom, the attacker restores access to the data.
Initially, ransomware used to target individuals. However, with time, it has grown to target more and more businesses in the last couple of years.