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A type of malicious software, or malware, that encrypts the victim’s files. Attackers demand a ransom, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars (usually payable in bitcoin), to provide the decryption key that would unlock, or decrypt, said files. Delivery systems for malware vary, with the most common being phishing spam, whereby the victim receives e-mail with an attachment from a seemingly trustworthy source. Clicking on the attachment – i.e., downloading the attached file – unleashes the payload.

 


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