The reason? “[Ransomware] is an easy business to get into. There are kits out there that you can buy on the deep dark web and start your own little ransomware company, and many of these end up actually being successful,” said Marcin Kleczynski, the CEO of Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity company that focuses on thwarting malware.
The criminals target everyone, including consumers, small businesses and major corporations.
“Its targets of opportunity could mean your grandma or grandpa, or a corporation down the street, such as a health-care provider,” said Will Bales, a Chantilly, Va.-based FBI supervisory special agent in charge of ransomware probes.
Still, 57 percent of victims are consumers, according to cybersecurity company Symantec. That means critical banking files, previous tax returns and personal photos can be locked up.