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Ransomware is a type of malicious software (Malware) designed to block access to a computer system or files until a ransom is paid. Ransomware works by encrypting files on the infected system or locking the entire system, effectively preventing users from accessing their files or using the computer.

Once the ransomware has taken hold of the system, the victim is typically presented with a message that demands payment in exchange for the decryption key or the unlocking of the system. This message will often include a countdown timer, after which the ransom price may increase, or the files may be permanently deleted.

Ransomware can be spread through various methods, including email attachments, malicious websites, or the exploitation of security vulnerabilities in software or operating systems. It is essential to have up-to-date anti-malware software and to back up files to protect against ransomware attacks regularly.