Ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts your computer’s files, photos, music and documents and then demands payment in Bitcoin to recover access to the files.
Not only can ransomware encrypt the files on your computer, the software is smart enough to travel across your network and encrypt any files located on shared network drives. This can lead to a catastrophic situation whereby one infected user can bring an entire company to a halt.
Once the files are encrypted, the hackers will display some sort of screen or webpage explaining how to pay to unlock the files. Also, typical ransomware has a 48-72 hour deadline which, once passed, causes the ransom to increase. In 2016, companies paid out over $1 billion to ransomware related attacks.