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From VOA Learning English, this is the Science Report. “Ransomware” is on the rise. That is a term for a type of software that locks up files or access to a computer until money is paid. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, says Ransomware is spreading in the U.S.
Two of the biggest ransomware programs are CryptoLocker and CryptoWall. The two computer programs are thought to have taken millions of dollars from people. The Internet security company Websense says it has found about 2 million cases of Cryptolocker. More than 60 percent of the cases were in Australia. Symantec is another Internet security company. It says a newer ransomware program is quickly spreading around the world. It fools people with information on the popular television series “Breaking Bad.” It secretly searches for kinds of files in computers and encrypts them. That means it changes information from one form to another to hide it. Computer users then need a specific key to open their files. Users are told their files will remain unavailable unless the user pays for the decryption key. Usually it costs $300 to $600 to get the key. John Shier is a security expert at Sophos. He says ransomware looks for user-generated content – word documents, spreadsheets, pictures. But Ransomware targets all types of computer systems – personal, business and government. Little can be done once a device has been infected. John Shier says to make many copies of your files and save them in different locations.