Does Antivirus Protect Against Ransomware?
Antivirus software, or AV, is often considered a crucial ransomware protection measure. It is. It’s better to buy a subscription to antivirus software than to pay, on average, $36,295 to hackers or face significant financial and reputational damages.
What’s the catch? Ransomware attacks are common for antivirus users.
Why is antivirus not sufficient to protect against ransomware? What is the best ransomware protection method? Let’s get together to figure it out.
What Does Antivirus Software Do?
Understanding how antivirus works are the first step in understanding why it isn’t effective. AV scans files and websites to see if they are similar to known malware. AV will alert you if there are any similarities.
Can antivirus detect ransomware? However, it can only detect ransomware if the ransomware type is present in the antivirus database. AV must be regularly updated by its developers to detect new ransomware. It can take time to gather ransomware protection functionality and implement it since there are tens of ransomware families that appear every year. It could take several months before the AV is updated to detect new ransomware. AV users are still vulnerable during this time.
Can antivirus stop ransomware from being downloaded? Antivirus can only help to detect potentially dangerous software or links, but nothing will happen once you click them.
Even if an attack is detected, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be defeated. Many users ignore warnings from antivirus software. Ransomware attacks are not just well-planned but also designed to fool antivirus software and users.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a program that encrypts your computer’s data with the intent of obtaining money to decrypt them. Ransomware, unlike other viruses, isn’t just malicious code. It also has complex social engineering behind it.
The job of an antivirus is to detect ransomware codes and alert you about potential danger. Ransomware attacks can be disguised to fool you, so you may ignore any warnings from antivirus.
What is ransomware? Ransomware may look like emails from your manager or service provider. You may also be infected by clicking on malicious links on seemingly normal websites, which allows ransomware to access the corporate network.
All ransomware attacks, regardless of form, are based on the same principle: the ransom code is allowed to enter the system by the users.
Hackers have come up with a variety of ransomware infections methods to make this possible. Let’s look at some.
Let’s suppose you received an email with this subject. What if you were to click the link?
This is just one example of ransomware authors spreading corrupted links. There are likely to be dozens of emails like this each day. Each one could contain a malicious hyperlink.
Ransomware can still be infected your system through Phishing.
Antiviruses cannot stop you from clicking on infected links. Some antiviruses only scan emails but there’s no guarantee that the random code will be detected. Phishing is still a popular way to infect your computer with ransomware.
Websites and Malvertising
Ransomware can be spread via links that you find all over the Internet, even links in advertisements. Every banner you click could contain a link that takes you to ransomware-infected websites. For example, Sodinokibi ransomware used malvertising as an infection method.
Antivirus software can block your access to infected websites in many cases. Ransomware infection can still be detected if you browse the internet.
There is another important aspect. The notification can be ignored by any user and they can go directly to the website. Ransomware looks like content from trusted sources, so users are easily fooled. Why? Many people believe that antivirus is wrong in a specific case and click to get an infection.
Ransom code could be embedded in the app you use. Ransomware-infected apps can be easily detected by antivirus software. Your system asks you every time you download an app whether you wish to grant it access to your data.
You usually give it. Why not? It seems like an administrative task to grant the new app access to install it. It is a fact that almost everyone denies. This is how ransomware can get in. Even seemingly secure apps can be corrupted at the beginning, or updated later with a ransom code.
Ransomware-infected apps can be hacked using AV. You must download the app and give it access to your data.
Infecting USBs or hard drives is another way to spread ransomware. Imagine visiting an industry conference. You are given a flash drive containing a presentation. You share the flash drive with your colleagues and then insert it.
This is how you can infect your computer with ransomware. The autoran file will initiate ransomware infection immediately after the drive is inserted. You don’t need to click anything. Antivirus software will scan your drive but may not find ransomware signatures to warn you.
Summary of Antivirus Ransomware Protection
The main reasons AV is ineffective against ransomware are:
- Antivirus software can detect ransomware only by design. Most ransomware families that are newer will not be detected.
- Although antivirus software may detect ransomware codes, it cannot prevent human error. Users can click on infected links or insert corrupted USB sticks.
- Antivirus detects potential danger but does not block ransomware attacks or recover files.
- Antivirus software is ineffective against ransomware-infected applications since users grant permissions to the apps to access their system-critical information.
You can see those antivirus solutions are capable of detecting ransomware attacks, but they cannot prevent them from infecting your computer. No AV is even close to protecting you from 100% of ransomware attacks. There is an alternative.
What is the Best Ransomware Protection?
Can antivirus stop ransomware attacks? Antivirus reduces the likelihood of ransomware attacks by notifying you when it encounters ransomware. This is far better than no ransomware protection.
It’s not enough just to update and install antivirus software to protect your files from ransomware. How to protect against ransomware? These are some anti-ransomware precautions:
- Remember to think about the ads or links you click.
- Avoid visiting any suspicious websites, particularly those whose URLs do not begin with HTTPS.
- Use strong password policies.
- Monitor apps for abnormal behavior.
- Use backup and cybersecurity tools.
- If you are not sure they are safe, don’t use USB devices and hard drives.
You might want to take precautions against ransomware.
Spinone: End to End Ransomware Protection Solution
To avoid ransomware infection, antivirus software is highly recommended. There is however a better way of protecting your files against ransomware.
Spinone is advanced cybersecurity and ransomware protection platform, that includes ransomware detection using machine learning. How does Spinone for G Suite make your Google files safe?
- 24/7 monitoring of your Google Drive to detect ransomware attacks.
- The attack source is automatically blocked if an attack occurs. The system also notifies you about an attack.
- Google Drive full scan to find encrypted files
- All files damaged are automatically restored from the backup version (or manually, if desired).
It takes only minutes to detect and block the attack, as well as recover encrypted files.