A brief History of Ransomware - Complete IT

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A brief History of Ransomware

by | Nov 7, 2016 | Archived Articles

It may be difficult to imagine, but the first ransomware in history emerged in 1989 (that’s 27 years ago). It was called the AIDS Trojan, whose modus operandi seems crude nowadays. It spread via floppy disks and involved sending $189 to a post office box in Panama to pay the ransom.

As cyber criminals moved from cyber vandalism to cyber crime as a business, ransomware emerged as the go-to malware to feed the money-making machine.

The advent of Bitcoin and evolution of encryption algorithms favoured made the context ripe for ransomware development too.

This graph shows just how many types of encrypting malware researchers have discovered in the past 10 years.

And keep in mind 3 things, so you can get a sense of how big the issue really is:

There are numerous variants for each type (for example, CrytpoWall is on its 4th version)

No one can map all the existing ransomware out there (because most ransomware attacks go unreported);

New ransomware is coming out in volumes at an ever-increasing pace.


So what exactly does Ransomware look like now? Read our blog here.