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Ransomware attacks are proliferating across the US, disabling computer systems and harming critical infrastructure — hospitals, city governments, schools, even an oil pipeline. Why is this happening now and can it be stopped?

A podcast series by MIT Technology Review and ProPublica.

Hosted by Meg Marco, this 5-part podcast series looks at the money, people and technology behind the explosion of ransomware that is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to cybercriminals around the world.

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The Problem

A new-age iteration of the old-age extortion problem. A ransomware vigilante, a piracy (as in actual boats) expert, a school administrator, and a kidnapping victim share their experiences.


The Bad Actors

In an absurd contract, look into the criminal world where the stakes are high, but the methods are increasingly business-like and meet the people who interact with the ransomware hackers.


All Cats, No Mice

After the Colonial Pipeline payment, the FBI followed the money and cybersecurity researchers followed the ransomware group. We followed both.


The Extortion Industry

We look at the reasons ransomware is so hard to solve and ask hard questions about who is really helping the victims.


File Not Found

The problem of ransomware has many causes but no clear solution. What's coming next?

About the host

Meg Marco is the Editor in Chief of Observer leading all editorial operations for the Observer brand. Before joining Observer Media, Meg held senior editorial positions at ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal and Axios. At ProPublica her team’s work was honored with the 2021 National Magazine Award for Social Media, and she was part of the team of editors whose work was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Behind the Podcast

Jennifer Strong

Emma Cillekens

Tate Ryan-Mosley

Anthony Green