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The U.S. has struck a rare blow against an international ransomware gang, charging one alleged member of a hacker ring that has shut down health care facilities, colleges and utilities companies, NBC News reports.

The Justice Department also helped seize computers related to a custom ransomware known as NetWalker, it announced Wednesday. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is used to infect computer systems, which are then held for ransom, usually in payments of cryptocurrencies.

For several years, the hackers that operated NetWalker broke into victims’ networks and encrypted their files, demanding payment in bitcoin and sometimes posting their private files on their blog if they didn’t quickly pay up.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com