We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ransomware?

By S. Gonzales
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ransomware is a specific type of malicious software that holds a computer and its contents virtually hostage. This malware acts as a means to perpetuate extortion. Attackers who use malware do so with the goal of forcing victims to pay money to regain access to their own files. After the money has been received, the attacker provides the victim with a code that can restore the system back to normal.

Viruses that can encrypt files and withhold them from their rightful owners have also been called cryptoviruses, cryptoworms and cryptotrojans. They have become increasingly popular. Ways that ransomware can infiltrate a computer system are similar to those of the average computer computer worm. Ransomware can enter through an infected email or a network vulnerability. They can also make their way onto the computers of unsuspecting victims by way of search engine activities, infected web advertisements and automatic Internet downloads.

Upon its installation, ransomware can disable or compromise important system functions, such as the computer's startup mechanisms. It will then encrypt the victim's files, making it impossible for the user to access them without undergoing a specific action that can monetarily benefit the attacker. The particular action demanded from the attacker can vary, depending on the attacker's preferences.

For example, a victim of a ransomware attack might be prompted to enter a code into their computer in order to regain access to their files. The code is safely guarded by the attacker, and the attacker will provide it only if the victim sends payment to the attacker. In some cases, the code is not even known by the attacker until payment is sent.

Some attackers urge victims to send short message service (SMS) messages so that victims can be charged for the action. In scenarios such as these, Internet access is also blocked on the victim's computer. Craftier attackers might create a fake malware removal program notice on a victim's computer, alerting him or her of security threats. The notice can warn the victim that the computer's virus protection software has expired and urge him or her to pay for instant removal of the virus from his system.

Computer users can protect themselves against ransomware attacks by installing good antivirus programs on their computers. Being vigilant about web-surfing habits can reduce the risk of computer infection as well. Regularly updating programs to make sure that known security issues have been addressed can also minimize threats.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Inaventu — On Jun 13, 2014

@Cageybird- I wish I had thought of that when I got hit with ransomware last year. I had to take my infected PC to a local computer repair shop, and the tech ran all sorts of advanced malware virus scans. He finally found the malicious code and restored my settings, but it was not a quick or easy fix.

I warn my friends now to be extra cautious on the Internet. I shouldn't have been visiting that kind of website, but I didn't think my computer would be taken hostage like that. I can see why some people would willingly pay the ransom, since the warnings look very official. I've heard of some ransomware viruses that access a user's webcam and display the video feed alongside the warning.

By Cageybird — On Jun 12, 2014

Ransomware is very scary. One time I was looking at different videos and pictures on a fairly popular website, and I clicked on a link that was supposed to be a cute cat video. The screen froze up for a minute, then a blurry screenshot of a porn video appeared. I couldn't back out of it. Everything remained frozen.

A minute later, a very official looking page appeared, informing me that my computer had been seized by a government anti-pornography agency and I faced 10 years in prison if convicted of child pornography possession. I would have to purchase a pre-paid debit card loaded with $200 and send it to a specified address in order to have my computer released and avoid future prosecution. I was petrified, because it was my wife's computer and I didn't want her to think I would download child pornography.

I explained the situation to my wife, and she said she had heard of ransomware at work. She managed to run a malware virus scan, but it didn't fix the problem. She finally accessed the system restore program and reset the date on our computer to a time before the ransomware computer virus was installed.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.