The first known malware extortion attack, or ransomeware attack, the "AIDS Trojan"
was written by Joseph L. Popp in 1989. According to the Wikipedia article on Ransomware
as accessed in October 2020, it " had a design failure so severe it was not necessary to pay the extortionist at all. Its payload hid the files on the hard drive and encrypted only their names
, and displayed a message claiming that the user's license to use a certain piece of software had expired. The user was asked to pay US$
189 to "PC Cyborg Corporation" in order to obtain a repair tool even though the decryption key could be extracted from the code of the Trojan. The Trojan was also known as "PC Cyborg". Popp was declared mentally unfit
to stand trial for his actions, but he promised to donate the profits from the malware to fund AIDS