Optiv Cybersecurity Dictionary

What is Ransomware?

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


It’s often distributed as a trojan (malware disguised as a legitimate file) through phishing emails or links on an infected website. Once a system is infected, the ransom demand is typically displayed on the locked screen with directions on how to pay (often with cryptocurrency, since it’s untraceable). Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t 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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