According to a study presented by Google last July, ransomware victims have paid out more than $25 million in ransoms over the last two years. Ransomware is a viral program that, after infecting a system, encrypts all the local files, making them unlockable only with a private key held by the attackers. Attackers then demand exorbitant sums of Bitcoin in order to recover the data — or threaten to make it inaccessible forever. The strategy has proven highly profitable for cybercriminals, who have adopted it in droves. Just this summer, San Francisco’s largest public radio station was hit by ransomware, forcing employees to rely on mechanical stopwatches and paper scripts in the aftermath. Additionally, it’s clear from the data that ransomware designers are constantly developing more and more ways to penetrate antivirus software. When antivirus identifies a specific malware program, the system usually scans for matching binaries. But modern ransomware is able to change its binary once it has been detected, allowing it to skate past many outdated defense systems. TheVerge.com 7/25/2017
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