PayPal Successfully Gains Patent for Cryptocurrency Ransomware and Malware Protection

Known as the go-to company for international payments solutions online, PayPal has since been officially awarded the patent for a unique method that would be able to detect specific kinds of cryptocurrency malware and mitigate the effects it may have.

According to sources, the patent was first filed by the company back in September 2016 and has since been awarded to the company by the United States' Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) early this week.

The patent itself goes into further detail as to how it can be used to take advantage of the already operating system of data caches. As a result, this can help to detect ransomware and act to prevent it from locking up victims files and consequently holding them hostage.

The way that ransomware works are that it seizes and encrypts the contents of a victims hard drive, or other files within the network, making them inaccessible to the system's users.

According to the patent, this places the unfortunate victim in the position of having no way to obtain access to their information without conceding to the malware's demands

 “a system user who lacks decryption keys will no longer be able to readily access his or her data.”

The increasing prevalence of these malware-based attacks has meant that Paypal has resolved itself to finding a solution which involves detecting the first copy of its original content which had been loaded into a cache of an existing computer system. How it manages to counter malware, hypothetically, by also retaining a second copy of the same file in order to compare the two and identify any differences. If, for example, the altered content is similar to the new encrypted version of the original file, it can then prevent the original content from being deleted if the altered file has, in fact, been encrypted.

The patent goes on to explain:

“By detecting that ransomware is operating on a computer (e.g. by correlating between the original data and content in different cache layers), the negative effects of the ransomware may be mitigated or avoided.”

One of the fundamental ways in which any kind of user online, from individual consumers to businesses of any kind of scale, can prevent any needless loss of data, simply by backing it up, the filed patent states. While this is the ideal solution, even if there is a backup system in place to address data loss, it can still be lost, this is because files that have been encrypted by a form of ransomware will also result in the automatic back-up of each encrypted files – resulting in formerly ‘free' files being overwritten by the locked ones.

The best kind of prevention is early-stage, which is the thinking behind the PayPal team. And doing so within the world of ransomware can significantly reduce the amount of damage sustained upon unknowing victims, according to the PayPal team.

Over the course of last year, PayPal had also filed a further application for a patent for a method of boosting the speed of payments using cryptocurrencies. The underlying aim of this patent is to allow for the amount of time that it takes for payments to be completed using cryptocurrency to be narrowed far more. Making them a far more viable currency solution for consumers and merchants.

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