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LINKS FOR ADDITIONAL READING FOR THIS VIDEO & ALL INFO IN TEXT DOWN BELOW:
What is Ransomware: https://www.malwarebytes.com/ransomware/
Ransomwear on the Rise: https://www.coindesk.com/malware-crypto-ransoms-rose-by-almost-90-in-q1-report
PayPal Patent: https://www.coindesk.com/paypal-wins-patent-for-way-to-defend-against-crypto-ransomware
What is a Patent: https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/general-information-concerning-patents
What is ransom wear?? When a hacker gains access to your data, they often do one of two things. The hacker can threaten to publish your personal information, or they can lock you out and prevent you from being able to access your data.
They do this for money of course and give you a nice friendly threat that if you don’t comply to their demands, your information will be made public or you will never gain access to your data again.
Sounds like a pretty terrible situation am I right?
It’s something that we are seeing occur more often in this cryptocurrency space due to the relative anonymity granted by transacting in cryptocurrencies. Not only are these types of attacks occurring more often, the amount of money being demanded is spiking up as well. It’s kind of insane, but there is a whole market for this now. There are different “strains” of ransom wear that vary in both who they target and how they function and the amount of crypto being demanded.
PayPal has taken steps to prevent this possibility from happening to their customers. Which is great, but the way they did this isn’t what I would consider to be the best way. They filed for a patent. Here’s what I think about patents. And also, how an alternative method could have bore better and faster results.
Number one, patents exist to prevent others from benefiting from your tool and when you get down to it, they are nothing more than evidence of greed and selfishness.
Patents don’t benefit from other eyes being able to analyze them, find the weaknesses, and ultimately make the idea or tool better.
Not to mention the time it took for this particular patent to be approved was time wasted, PayPal filed for this patent way back in 2016 and ended up leaving their customers without the potential protection of the anti-ransomwear for years.
Open source on the other hand would encourage others to take part in helping to develop the tool or idea and make it stronger, more effective. This route also would have enabled more people to benefit from the innovation.
Additionally, PayPal’s new patent addresses only one type of ransom wear. Had this been open for a discussion among the crypto community, others may have had the knowledge to expand this solution and explore how it could be adjusted to address many kinds of strains and possibly could have found a number of different applications for it.
The cryptocurrency space is introducing so many ways to improve different processes, and this is yet another example.
I know there are plenty of people out there who support patents for one reason or another, but think about this:
If you’re scared of sharing your ideas, why? Because you think you’ll only have one good idea in your lifetime? Even so, to go through those great lengths in protecting it from others is selfish and closes you off to others. Consider the benefits of learning from others and how that could make your ideas better. Collaboration, it’s awesome.