Ransomware started out as little more than an obnoxious practical joke, created by the not-so-stable biology professor Dr. Joseph Popp in 1989, when he distributed diskettes that supposedly contained Aids education software, but in fact contained a virus that locked the computers of anyone who tried to use the software. For just $189, Popp would unlock the victim’s computer but in truth, the locking method he used, called “symmetric cryptography” was pretty easy to reverse – but this new concept, software that could be used for blackmail, was shocking.
Ransomware as a threat laid low until about 2006 when it resurfaced as GPCoder, using stronger encryption methods than its earlier counterpart. After that it was off and running with new yet similar variants starting to appear with regular frequency. In 2012 Reveton ransomware, posing as an email from local police departments, locked computers and charged victim’s $200 to have them unlocked.
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