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ransom +‎ -ware


ransomware (uncountable)

  1. (computing) Malware that holds the data of a computer user for ransom, usually requiring or claiming to require payment to restore access.
    • 2008, Markus Jakobsson, Zulfikar Ramzan, Crimeware: Understanding New Attacks and Defenses‎, p. 375:
      The amount of money generated by ransomware schemes would appear to be quite small given their lack of popularity and the asking price in ransom notes []
  2. (computing, derogatory) Software that is released as open source only in exchange for payment.
    • 2013, Mano Paul, Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CSSLP CBK, Second Edition, page 622:
      [I]n some situations, the source code of COTS may be escrowed and released under a free software or open source license when the original developer (or supplier) no longer continues to develop that software or if stipulated fundraising conditions are met. This model is referred to as the ransom model of software publishing and the software is known as ransomware.