Ransomware, n.: A type of malicious software designed to block access to applications or files on a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
This is how the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines ransomware, which is one of 1,100 new entries added this week, reports The Washington Times. OED updates its growing list of 829,000 words four times each year and works with experts to determine which terms make the cut.
The entry further explains common forms of ransomware are designed to encrypt users' data and show a message threatening to permanently delete it, or publish it online, if the ransom isn't paid in time. In early use, the term referred to a type of open-source software, which is available for free but requires payment for access to all features, functions, and updates.
Read the full dictionary entry here.