Every time you log onto your computer there's a chance some form of malware will be waiting for you like a cobra ambushing a mongoose.
Trending in the malware community is the latest weapon called ransomware.
What is ransomware? It's a family of malware cobbled together to block access to your PC, server or mobile device. It also encrypts all the data you have stored.
You get the nasty-ass bug via malicious emails or infected third-party websites. Once you're in the hacker's clutches the only way you get back your data (and unfreeze your PC) is to pay a ransom.
The bad guys lurking behind computers throughout the world have figured out that ransomware is the most lucrative way to get money from victims directly.
You either pay a ransom, or never use your PC again. By the way, the hackers usually want paid in bitcoin. This hack is unstoppable.
Removing the malware doesn't solve the problem. The hacker still has your software key and is in command.
Big businesses, ranging from hospitals to banks, have been victimized. What we have is extortion of the masses on the scale of a massive gold rush.
Digital security experts warn that the problem with ransomware is only going to get worse. It's like watching an impending train wreck and not being able to do anything about it.
Fact: Individual users are the most likely victims because they tend to have less robust security.
That means you should be doing everything you can to protect your computer.
Anyone hit by ransomware should file a report via the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. The FBI also has tips for protecting yourself and your organization.
It's dangerous to surf in cyberspace these days. The World Wide Web is not as welcoming as it once was.
Related: What is ransomware and 15 easy steps to keep your system protected (updated)
Time for me to walk on down the road...