It's a crime that costs a lot of money to undo or reverse, ransomware is on the rise.
Randy Thysse, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Omaha Bureau, showed our Craig Nigrelli a flow chart of how it works and how anybody with a computer could become a victim.
Cyber thieves send you an e-mail, known as spam, with an attachment. When you open it, you've launched a virus and certain data that you have stored or saved is compromised.
"Once they're encrypted they are unreadable to your computer. You open a letter and it will be a jumbled mess," Thysse said.
The victim then receives a message. It's a countdown which tells you how much time to you have to pay the computer crooks or your files will be permanently gone.
The ransom is the payment the cyber thieves demand, to give you a private key. That's a fancy term for a bunch of numbers and a password.
"You are at their mercy," Thysse said.
There are two specific ways to protect your files on your computer. Number one, make sure you have an aggressive anti-malware software installed. Number two, always backup your files.
So if you become a victim of ransomware, you can let the clock expire and you still have all of your valuable information.