It’s a strange situation when someone can hold something hostage from halfway around the world. It’s tragic when your own pictures and files are remotely encrypted. But when it’s a hospital’s system? Ransomware becomes a problem about life or death. 

Eddy Willems recounts his involvement in defeating an early ransomware attack that targeted AIDS researchers. At the time, there was a way to discover the encryption key. But as Moti Yung warned, asymmetric encryption would change everything. In the years since, ransomware attacks have become much more popular—thanks in part to the rise of cryptocurrencies. While criminals think it’s an anonymous way to collect payment, Sheila Warren tells us that the opposite is actually true.

If you want to read up on some of our research on ransomware, you can check out all our bonus material over at Follow along with the episode transcript.