ran·​som·​ware | \ ˈran(t)-səm-ˌwer How to pronounce ransomware (audio) \

Definition of ransomware

: malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files In September of 2013, security for small accounting offices changed forever with the appearance of a new class of threats called ransomware. … you open a file attached to an innocent-looking e-mail, and the program encrypts key files and drives so they cannot be accessed. The files are locked until you pay a ransom.— Dave Mcclure With ransomware, a hacker slips into a system, then puts encryption controls in place that locks users out. The hackers then demand money to "unlock" the data.— Elizabeth Millard Today's ransomware scammers often demand payment in bitcoin because the digital currency is easy to use, fast and provides a heightened anonymity for the scammers, according to the FBI warning.— Susan Tompor

Examples of ransomware in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hackers walked away with $4.4 million in the Colonial ransomware attack, according to chief executive Joseph Blount. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 News of the cybersecurity issue broke after news earlier this week of a ransomware attack on the world’s second largest meat processing company, JBS SA disrupted production around the world, according to the Associated Press. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, 4 June 2021 Yet another ransomware attack yesterday disrupted service for a Martha's Vineyard ferry in Cape Cod. Aj Willingham, CNN, 3 June 2021 The recent ransomware attack that spilled thousands of sensitive Azusa Police Department files online was not the first time hackers demanding money had infiltrated the agency’s computer systems. Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2021 Hospitals and other health facilities are among ransomware-attack victims. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 3 June 2021 This is the third ransomware attack in the last couple of weeks. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 3 June 2021 Last month, San Diego’s Scripps Health hospital chain was hit by a ransomware attack that forced it to shut down most of its computer network. BostonGlobe.com, 2 June 2021 Almost exactly one year ago, the city of Florence paid over a quarter of a million dollars to cyber-criminals to recover data encrypted in a ransomware attack. al, 2 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ransomware.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ransomware

2005, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for ransomware

Time Traveler

The first known use of ransomware was in 2005

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Statistics for ransomware

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ransomware.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ransomware. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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