News organizations including NYT and the BBC have said their sites were infected with ‘ransomware,’ but how does this kind of malware work?

Some major news organizations including The New York Times, AOL and the BBC have said their websites were attacked by “ransomware” that attempted to install the malware on users’ computers. Southern California public radio station KPCC reports that while this form of malware isn’t new, the attacks are becoming more common and often target organizations such as hospitals and schools. “Ransomware” works by a hacker encrypting a user’s information and holding it hostage until a ransom is paid, and an attack can come via an email attachment or through a website. To protect yourself and your organization from an attack, co-founder of the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology James Scott recommends taking a layered approach, starting with whitelist firewalls and intrusion-detection and prevention systems.