Ransomware is malicious software that seeks to encrypt files and hold them for ransom. Ransomware victims must pay the attackers to regain access to resources, typically in untraceable cryptocurrency, in return for a decryption key which may or may not arrive after payment is made. For an individual, files like pictures, videos or important documents can cause anxiety if compromised, but for a business entity the ransomed content could easily include proprietary information, customer personal information, account and payment card details, or other.
Ransomware is nearly always motivated by profit, however advanced ransomware attacks can have wider objectives and cause tremendous harm to organizations, including existential concerns should the ransomware attack cause the entity to be unable to continue in its normal course of business. In extreme cases, human lives can even be put at risk.