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In early 2016, destructive ransomware variants such as Locky and Samas were observed infecting computers belonging to individuals and businesses, which included healthcare facilities and hospitals worldwide. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC), released this Alert to provide further information on ransomware, specifically its main characteristics, its prevalence, variants that may be proliferating, and how users can prevent and mitigate against ransomware.