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Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that is designed to deny access to, or "lock," a computer system until a sum of money (ransom) is paid.

It is often distributed as a trojan (malware disguised as a legitimate file) through phishing emails or links at an infected website. Once a system is infected, the ransom demand is typically displayed on the lock screen with directions on how to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars, with cryptocurrency often the preferred form of payment since it is untraceable. Unfortunately, paying the ransom does not always result in restored access to files or removal of the ransomware. Some of the most damaging recent examples of ransomware include WannaCry, Petya, and Locky. 

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