The ransom ware threat is neither new nor novel. It is a type of malicious software that infiltrates an endpoint with the purpose of encrypting all the files on it, and then demanding a ransom payment to release them back to the rightful owner. The threat traces back to 1989, when it first emerged on floppy disks sent to unsuspecting computer owners. It has gained disproportionate momentum since 2014, along with the rise of crypto currencies used across the globe, which enable cyber criminals to anonymously demand payment from anyone.
Ransom ware was the most prevalent online threat in 2016, with over 40,000 attacks per day at times, and reaching well over 65 percent of all spam messages that carry malicious payloads. IBM X-Force researchers tracking spam trends noted that the rise in ransom ware spam in 2016 reached an exorbitant 6,000 percent, going from 0.6 percent of spam emails in 2015 to an average of 40 percent of email spam in 2016. The situation is only worsening in 2017.