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Ransomware has generated plenty of headlines in the last few years, and for good reason, as organizations, as well as individuals, found themselves falling victim, meaning it's now thought to be the most profitable type of malware in history.

The story of ransomware goes as far back as 1989, but only in more recent years has it really emerged as the malware of choice for cyber criminals.

But why the surge in popularity? The emergence of the dark web, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, have played a huge part, as they make it easier for criminals to achieve the profit they desire, while also retaining anonymity.

It also requires less effort to set up and distribute than other forms of malware, with free ransomware kits available online to aid those wanting to get up and running as quickly as possible. This ease of set up and potential to make money, while proving almost impossible to trace, explains ransomware's appeal, but what exactly is it and how do attackers make their money?

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Download the full Ransomware uncovered report to take a look at the past, present and future of this malware, along with guidance on what you can do to protect yourself.