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Ransomware is a type of malware program that infects, locks or takes control of a system and demands ransom to undo it. Ransomware attacks and infects a computer with the intention of extorting money from its owner.
Ransomware may also be referred to as a crypto-virus, crypto-Trojan or crypto-worm.
Ransomware is typically installed in a system through a malicious email attachment, an infected software download and/or visiting a malicious website or link. When the system is infected with ransomware, it is locked down, the user's files are encrypted, or the user is restricted from accessing the computer’s key features. The ransomware will send pop-up windows asking the user to pay a specific ransom to reclaim or reactivate the computer. Moreover, some ransomware-based applications also impersonate or disguise themselves as police or a government agency, claiming that the user’s system is locked down for security reasons, and that a fine or fee is required to reactivate it.