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07-Aug-2015 23:48

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Ransomware has evolved a lot since its early days—when the malware type used federal law violation warnings (Police Ransomware/REVETON) as a scare tactic—to modern crypto-ransomware that can lock users out of their systems.

Different ransomware families have also adopted a variety of new tactics to compel users to pay as soon as possible; Jigsaw, in particular, threatens to delete an increasing number of files after every hour of nonpayment.

It was proven to be an effective tactic, and other ransomware families followed suit.

Since then, a number of businesses and large organizations around the world have been hit, as police departments, small businesses, schools, and hospitals joined the growing list of ransomware victims. 50 new ransomware families have already been seen within the first five months of 2016 alone, which is more than the numbers seen in 20 combined.

view infographic: Ransomware 101What makes ransomware so effective? Just like any traditional extortion op, ransomware operations succeed because they capitalize on fear, which ultimately forces victims to do something irrational such as paying cybercriminals.

Fear of losing your job because you lost important documents to ransomware can be crippling.

Cybercriminals have also constantly improved ransomware’s hostage-taking tactics with the use of increasingly sophisticated encryption technologies.In 2013, ransomware strains led by Crypto Locker began encrypting files, holding them hostage until victims paid the ransom.