More than 1000 new words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for 2018. Words such as hangry and mansplaining! But a word you might not be surprised to see in the latest OED is ransomware, which the OED has described as:
A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
Following incidents such as the 2017 WannaCry attack on the NHS, the British public now have a far greater awareness of cyber-attacks. The publicity surrounding the attack almost undoubtedly contributed to ransomware being added to the dictionary.
It is interesting that the word ransomware has only now been announced by the OED, not only because it has been in use by IT professionals for some time, but also as two of its sister editions have contained this definition since at least July 2017, these being the Oxford Dictionary of English and the New Oxford American Dictionary.
A sign of the times
With nearly seven in ten large businesses identifying at least one breach or attack in the last 12 months, the statistics show that businesses across the UK are now being targeted more and more frequently by cyber criminals. The number of ransomware attacks is growing and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with how to prevent such attacks.
Businesses which have identified attacks or breaches admit to suffering temporary loss of files, software and system corruption, third party system damage and websites sabotage. Such incidents have frequently resulted in numerous counts of financial loss and damaged reputations.
The term ransomware has now become a word synonymous on every IT professional’s lips and rightly so should be recognised as a dictionary defined word.
Businesses of all sizes must continue to invest in cyber security and take a proactive approach to IT security in order to protect themselves from falling victim to ‘a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid’.
And just in case you were wondering…
Hangry is being bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger and Mansplain is (For a man) to explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising.