How does a ransomware attack work?

A sign pointing to Colonial Pipeline, which was targeted in a ransomware attack.

Imagine you’re sitting at a computer. Perhaps you’re managing a fleet of trucks. Or ships. Or perhaps tendering a load of cargo, or sending customs clearance documentation. And then suddenly, things stop working. Every file has a strange extension. You can’t open anything. Then you notice a text file. It kindly explains that you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack.

Ransomware attacks are pretty straightforward at their core. They involve a piece of software called malware that encrypts...

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