Malware vs ransomware

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Malware and ransomware are two new words coined with the advent of the computer age. We will examine the definitions of the words malware and ransomware, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Malware is any software that is designed to disrupt the user’s computer experience or damage the computer. Malware is inserted without the knowledge and consent of the computer user or owner, its access is unauthorized. Malware is often allowed access to computers from unsolicited emails or from visiting dubious websites. The word malware is a blending of the words malicious and software. It is a portmanteau, which is a word that is composed by blending the sounds and the meanings of two different words. The word malware can be traced to a blog post by Yisrael Radai in 1990. Malware may come in the form of spyware, adware, Trojan horses and other computer viruses.

Ransomware is a type of malware or malicious software that either blocks access to one’s computer files until an amount of money is paid, or threatens to publish one’s personal information or data unless an amount of money is paid. Ransomware has become a problem for hospitals and large companies. The first known ransomware attempt was in 1989 by Joseph Popp, who was unsuccessful. He was declared mentally unfit to stand trial. The word ransomware is a portmanteau of the words ransom and software.


The malware can be downloaded onto one’s systems when the user visits a malicious or compromised websites, or as a payload either dropped or downloaded by other malware. (The Economic Times)

The ransomware demands a payment of about $275 from its victim, though it is not clear whether paying the ransom unlocks a computer’s files. (The St. George Daily Spectrum)