"ransomeware", not in OED3; GBooks 2005--

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Nov 5 16:23:25 UTC 2013

Should be findable earlier than 2005, since Wikipedia says the first
such program was 1989.

A  term I had not heard before, until my local computer products
store sent me an email warning which included as part of its advice
about "prevention" to "Stay safe with an updated, lightweight and
trusted ANTI-VIRUS".  (A come-on for ransome-ransomeware?  To be
fair, they did not hype that, and offered additional no-cost advice
for both prevention and cure.)

For discussion, see the Wikipedia article.  Under "History", that
article claims that "The first known ransomware was the 1989
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS_%28trojan_horse%29>"AIDS" trojan
(also known as "PC Cyborg") written by Joseph Popp", but the usually
useless Google Book search using dates gives me nothing earlier than
2005 -- http://tinyurl.com/k5ff2wb or
That page's definition is curiously worded:  "Ransomware is
ransomware that locks your computer by hampering its interface,
blocking other programs or encrypting files (a process that makes the
files unusable until they are decrypted). During this lockdown, the
ransomware will issue an alert, often in the form of a pop up, that
forces you to pay a fee to remove the lockdown."  [Perhaps the second
"ransomeware" is simply a typo for "software".]

Not in OED3.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list