Ransomware – a class or malware that restricts access to a computer until a ransom is paid – has been around for many years. In fact, one of the first known ransomware – the “AIDS” trojan – was found in 1989. Unlike other malware, ransomware has sort of been in the background, not drawing much attention. In 2013, the ransomware called CryptoLocker began making news as it infected computers, and then began encrypting personal data files.
In September 2013 a new type of malware was discovered to be making the rounds in computers running Microsoft Windows. This new malware is not really a virus because it typically requires a user to open an infected e-mail. What makes this malware particularly dangerous is what it does once it infects your computer – it holds your files for ransom.