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Cryptotrojan

A cryptovirus, cryptotrojan or cryptoworm is a type of malware that encrypts the data belonging to an individual on a computer, demanding a ransom for its restoration.

The term ransomware is commonly used to describe such software, although the field known as cryptovirology predates the term "ransomware".

This type of ransom attack can be accomplished by (for example) attaching a specially crafted file/program to an e-mail message and sending this to the victim.

If the victim opens/executes the attachment, the program encrypts a number of files on the victim's computer. A ransom note is then left behind for the victim.

The victim will be unable to open the encrypted files without the correct decryption key.

Once the ransom demanded in the ransom note is paid, the cracker may (or may not) send the decryption key, enabling decryption of the "kidnapped" files.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.