IT company Parachute has a useful primer on malware – what it is, signs you’re infected, how to remove it, etc. Malware usually exploits unpatched software vulnerabilities to compromise an endpoint device and gain a foothold in an organization’s internal network. If your computer boots and runs slowly, if your screen freezes or the system crashes and displays the ‘Blue Screen of Death,” you probably are infected. Pop up ads or security warnings asking you to download a product are dead-giveaways. Ransomware is one of the most widespread cyber threats, accounting for almost 1/3 of malware incidents. Ransomware programs gain access to a computer’s file system and execute a payload to encrypt all data. The data isn’t stolen or manipulated. The cybercriminals responsible demand a ransom in exchange for the cipher key. WannaCry ransomware caused a big stir in 2017, affecting thousands of hospitals, delaying critical medical procedures, and rerouting ambulances. Most of the data it encrypted was lost for good due to faulty code.