If you ask the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), this is the year when “ransomware will wreak havoc on America’s critical infrastructure community,” including financial services.

Ransomware basically locks the data on a computer — or the computer itself, or even an entire system or network — so that users cannot gain access to data or processes; it then holds the system and its data hostage, or even threatens destruction of the data, until the system’s owner pays a ransom for its release. The recent decision by Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center to pay hackers $17,000 in bitcoin to release its entire digital network has highlighted just one of the dangers posed by such threats.

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