Ever get the sinking feeling that something has just gone horribly wrong? That innocuous pop-up screen informs you that all your precious data is now "protected." Upon inspection, all of your files might have a new extension on them, like '.mp3' and are completely unusable. It's likely that you've become the latest victim of ransomware and now have a new "business partner" holding your data hostage for a ransom.
That's right, the criminals want to sell you back your own data that you've worked so hard to create. They're even so kind as to allow you to decrypt a couple files for free to prove they are trustworthy new "partners." The question that begs to be asked is whether you have implemented proper security controls to protect yourself or will you be paying a ransom to your new "partner" to retrieve that data?
This type of attack has been around for a while, but has recently become more prevalent with the proliferation of anonymous payment channels like bitcoin. New variants of Cryptolocker, Lockey, Teslacrypt, and other ransomware malware are getting tougher to detect. Traditional AV and spam/web filters are being bypassed easily. Antivirus is easily defeated by many variants of ransomware (and other malware), even when the signature files are current.