Define Ransom

Discover the meaning of ransom, from kidnappings to cyberattacks. Learn about different types of ransom, real-life examples, and the alarming rise of ransomware attacks.

What is Ransom?

Ransom is a sum of money or other valuable item demanded in exchange for the release of a captive or the return of stolen property. It is commonly associated with kidnappings, cyberattacks, and data breaches.

Types of Ransom

  • Traditional Ransom: In cases of kidnappings, the ransom is usually paid in cash and delivered to the perpetrators.
  • Cyber Ransom: In cyberattacks, ransom is often demanded in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to maintain anonymity.

Ransom in Kidnappings

In kidnapping cases, ransom is often the primary motivation for the abductors. The amount demanded can vary widely depending on the victim’s perceived value and the perpetrators’ objectives.

Example: The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping

One of the most infamous ransom cases is the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son in 1932. A ransom of $50,000 was demanded, but tragically, the child was found dead even after the ransom was paid.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files and demands payment for their release. These attacks have become increasingly prevalent, targeting individuals, businesses, and even governments.

Case Study: WannaCry Ransomware

In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, encrypting files and demanding payment in Bitcoin. The attack caused chaos and financial losses for many organizations.


According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware damage costs are predicted to reach $20 billion by 2021. This highlights the growing threat of ransomware attacks on businesses and individuals.

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