The Origin of Ransomware – Exploring the evolution of one of cybersecurity’s most prolific threats

Ransomware – where an attacker steals or freezes an organizations’ computer systems or data and demands a ransom payment to restore access to it – is one of the fastest-growing and most prevalent cybersecurity threats facing businesses today.

The US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, reported that more than $590 million in ransomware payments were made during the first half of 2021 alone, and that the top 10 hacking groups have trafficked approximately $5.2 billion worth of ransomware payments in Bitcoin over the past three years. As staggering as those numbers are, they likely underestimate the true scope of the threat, as many ransomware victims never report the crime to authorities or publicly admit to paying the ransom, and it doesn’t account for ransoms paid via other cryptocurrencies.

Although ransomware attacks only began dominating headlines in the past few years, such as seen during the Colonial Pipeline attack or more recently, the ransomware gang that has threatened to overthrow the Costa Rican government, the threat has actually been around much longer. The method of attack and the techniques used have evolved over time, but the incredible damage ransomware attacks can cause to organizations and individuals alike remains the

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