search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

What is Ransomware?

September 2019 Video

Ritwik Gupta and Elli Kanal explain what ransomware is, what it can do to your computer, and how you can help prevent infections using the concept of cyber hygiene.



Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the files on a computer, preventing the user from accessing them. The attacker then extorts the user by requesting a ransom in exchange for the key that unlocks the files. In this Cyber Talk episode, Ritwik Gupta and Elli Kanal explain how ransomware can infect a computer, and they discuss examples of how criminals have targeted single computers as well as large systems to explain what can happen when ransomware infects a system. To prevent ransomware attacks, Gupta and Kanal explain the concept of “cyber hygiene,” which refers to a set of basic practices that users can perform to decrease the risk of getting infected by malware. They stress the importance of developing an awareness for cyber hygiene, especially after the advent of the Internet of things, which has increased the number of devices that are susceptible to infection, including phones, cars, refrigerators, and more.