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 Last week the Trickbot cybercriminal group—which is made up of multiple smaller groups like the Conti ransomware group, and has links to the Russian state—was spotted by IBM targeting Ukraine for the first time. Wired, 12 July 2022 The two most common cyber attacks are ransomware and business email compromise, though cryptocurrency theft has also become a growing trend. Hannah Hernandez, Journal Sentinel, 19 July 2022 The prevalence of shadow IT and unapproved cloud services continue to rise, and over the last few years, ransomware and phishing attacks have escalated in scope and cost. Chris Taylor, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Despite prioritizing the problem, the U.S. government has had little luck holding major ransomware actors accountable. Fox News, 30 June 2022 In 2021, the center received 3,729 ransomware complaints with losses of more than $49.2 million. oregonlive, 30 June 2022 Its own ransomware site claims the gang has hacked dozens of companies and organizations across the globe. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 27 June 2022 Attackers are using ransomware to target more and more governments in recent months, with Costa Rica declaring a state of emergency after a Russian-speaking group took down systems at the finance and labor ministries. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 8 June 2022 Companies that rapidly digitized their operations during the pandemic are spending more time and effort navigating a fast-changing and treacherous ransomware landscape. James Rundle, WSJ, 31 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of ransomware

2005, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for ransomware

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The first known use of ransomware was in 2005

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Dictionary Entries Near ransomware

ransom theory



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Statistics for ransomware

Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ransomware.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ransomware. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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