Did you know that the first variant of ransomware was created as malware hidden on a floppy disc in 1989? The malware utilized simple symmetric cryptography and tools were soon available to decrypt the file names. It displayed a message demanding victims mail $189 to a P.O. Box in Panama if they wanted their data back. Since then, ransomware has since become one of the most profitable cyber-crimes.
In the intervening years, ransomware experienced multiple iterations of evolvement. The first evolution of ransomware emerged after computing was transformed by the internet in the early 2000s. Then, in 2008, ransomware was further revolutionized with the invention of Bitcoin. Bitcoin enabled cyber criminals to make ransom demands in digital currency, adding a layer of anonymity and thus security (for the attackers) to the process.
Over the next ten years, ransomware began launching via phishing attacks, started locking victims out of their files and systems, was deployed on a global scale, and has continued to develop ever more sophisticated encryption. Ransomware remains one of the most profitable cyber-crimes and is a multi-million-dollar industry.