Eye on Cybersecurity: What is Ransomware?

Ransomware, as its name implies, is software specifically designed to hold your personal files, documents, and photos hostage and prevent you from accessing them until you pay a ransom. This malware is a form of malicious software that attacks a users' system and threatens future accessibility unless the ransom demand is met.

How does ransomware work? What types of ransomware are out there? Let's take a closer look at ransomware.

How Ransomware Works

Cybercriminals use ransomware to infiltrate systems in a few ways including database development. One of the more common ways ransomware is introduced is through phishing spam. An email is disguised as a legitimate message from a company or individual and includes attachment the user should seemingly trust. Ransomware is introduced once the user opens that attachment. Upon opening the file, the user has unknowingly allowed the file to take over the computer and make it impossible to access its contents.

Ransomware encrypts an individual's files rendering them inaccessible until the user pays the ransom and receives the decryption key. Cybercriminals demand that payment be sent via an untraceable electronic method, such as Bitcoin. Ransomware attacks are becoming savvier and more realistic, making it more difficult to discern whether the message is real. Unfortunately, users fall victim to these types of attacks every day.

Types of Ransomware

There are several types of ransomware out there and the malware can be disseminated in many forms. Some are more harmful than others, but all have the potential to cause damage.

Crypto Malware

This type of ransomware causes a significant amount of damage because it encrypts important areas on a user's system, such as files, folders, and hard drives.


Locker ransomware completely locks a user out of his or her computer or devices. This malware makes it impossible to access any files or applications.


Scareware is a fake software designed to scare a user into taking an action deemed by the attacker. This type of ransomware may claim to have found security issues on your computer and demands payment to resolve them.


Doxware is commonly referred to as leak ware or extortion ware. This ransomware threatens to publish stolen information, like sensitive data or photos, unless payment is made to the attacker.

An MSP's Role in Preventing Ransomware

MSPs serve as a dedicated resource in stopping ransomware. Your MSP partner employs tools like network monitoring in order to provide a first line of defense against these types of threats. Expert MSPs, like AJTC, work with your business to develop custom monitoring solutions to detect threats before they cause damage.

Learn more about AJTC's capabilities in network monitoring and the role we can take on as an extension of your business. Now, more than ever, security is a critical consideration and should be a major priority for any company. Contact us here or learn more by calling 708.942.8200.

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