How to stay safe from ransomware, the malicious software holding your data hostage for cash


Computer Analyst Hacker Security Code

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

An analyst looks at code in the malware lab of a cyber security defense lab at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho September 29, 2011.

Ransomware is on the rise.


Cyber criminals have found they can make a good living by infecting computers with malicious software called "ransomware" - named for its sole function of encrypting data and holding it hostage in exchange for cash.

The FBI mentioned it as one of the "hot topics" in its annual internet crime report, with nearly 2,500 complaints of ransomware reported in 2015, amounting to $1.6 million in losses.

"Ransomware and crypto malware are rising at an alarming rate and show no signs of stopping," Raj Samani, European technology head for Intel Security, told the BBC.

Here's what you can do to protect yourself from it.