Software To Protect Against Ransomware

The Best Ransomware Protection for 2022

Many years ago, malware programmers produced viruses and other malicious software for the sake of gaining geek cred rather than for financial gain. Maybe their ideas would force computers to speak a girlfriend’s name, or would put on some type of humorous show. Those were the days, and they are long gone. Today, malware coding is just another type of business. Some assaults steal personal information that can be sold on the Dark Web. Others gain control of a large number of computers, which their “bot herder” can then rent out for various purposes, such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks. With ransomware, though, there’s no buying and selling involved. Ransomware is a type of malware that goes straight for the money, encrypting your important data and demands that you pay a fee to recover them. True, your antivirus programme should be able to protect you against ransomware just like it does from other sorts of malware, but if it fails, even for a small period, you’re out of luck.

If a virus or Trojan infects your computer, wreaks havoc for a few days, and then is erased by an antivirus update, it’s not ideal, but it’s not impossible. When ransomware is involved, though, things are a little more complicated. Because your files have already been encrypted, killing the culprit will do nothing and may even make it more difficult for you to pay the ransom if you want to do so in the future. Some security systems feature ransomware-specific protection layers, and you may also add ransomware-specific protection as an add-on to your existing security as a backup measure.

When your company is targeted by ransomware, the situation becomes even direr. It is possible that every hour of missed productivity could cost thousands of dollars or even more, depending on the nature of the firm. Ransomware assaults are on the rise, which is good news because tactics for combating those attacks are also on the rise. The tools that you can employ to protect yourself from ransomware are discussed in this section.

What Is Ransomware, and How Do You Get It?

What is Ransomware, and how does one get their hands on it?
The basic notion of ransomware is straightforward. The assailant finds a way to obtain something of yours and then demands payment in exchange for returning it. The most frequent sort of ransomware is encrypting ransomware, which prevents you from accessing your crucial documents by replacing them with encrypted duplicates. If you pay the ransom, you will be given the key to decode the papers (you hope). Another sort of ransomware is one that prevents you from using your computer or mobile device in any way. This screen locker ransomware, on the other hand, is less difficult to fight and does not represent the same amount of harm as encrypting ransomware. Malware that encrypts your whole hard drive and renders your computer unusable is maybe the most heinous example. Fortunately, this last variety is relatively rare.

If you are the victim of a ransomware assault, you will not be aware of it at first. It does not display any of the typical symptoms that you have malware on your computer. Encrypting ransomware operates in the background, intending to complete its nefarious task before you become aware of its existence. Once it has completed the job, it will get in your face, presenting instructions on how to pay the ransom and reclaim your files from the attacker. Naturally, the criminals demand untraceable payment, and Bitcoin is a popular alternative for this purpose. In addition, the ransomware may tell victims to purchase a gift card or prepaid debit card and provide the card details to the ransomware.

When it comes to how you become infected with this infection, it is most typically through the receipt of an infected PDF or Office document in an email that appears to be legitimate. It may even look to come from an address within your company’s domain. That seems to be what happened with the WannaCry ransomware attack a few years ago. If you have the smallest doubt as to the legitimacy of the email, don’t click the link, and do report it to your IT department.

Of course, ransomware is just another sort of malware, and any malware-delivery method could bring it to you. A drive-by download is hosted by a malicious advertisement on an otherwise-safe site, for example. You may also contract this disease by entering a gimmicked USB stick into your PC, though this is less prevalent. If you’re lucky, your malware protection tool will catch it instantly. If not, you could be in trouble.

CryptoLocker and Other Encrypting Malware

Until the huge WannaCry attack, CryptoLocker was perhaps the best-known ransomware strain. It first appeared on the scene a few years ago. Although an international consortium of law enforcement and security agencies brought down the group responsible for CryptoLocker a long time ago, other criminal organisations have kept the name alive by using it to brand their destructive works.

Demand for ransom from the master ransomware

A Dwindling Field

You could choose from a dozen or so standalone ransomware protection programmes from consumer security companies some years ago, and many of those tools were available for no cost. The vast majority of those have now vanished, for a variety of reasons. Examples include Acronis Ransomware Protection, which used to be available as a free standalone application, but which is now only available as a component of the company’s backup programme. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware, on the other hand, is now only available as part of the entire Malwarebytes Premium package. As for Heilig Defense RansomOff, its web page used to claim “RansomOff will be returned at some point.” Now there’s no mention of the product.

There are a few ransomware protection programmes available for free from business security companies who have decided to do the world a favour by providing simply their ransomware component as a freebie for consumers. And quite a few of those have also fallen by the wayside, as corporations find that the free product sucks up support resources. For example, CyberSight RansomStopper is no longer with us, and Cybereason RansomFree has likewise been discontinued.

Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware is gone for a more practical purpose. While it existed, it took an unorthodox approach. A ransomware attack that encrypted the same files twice would risk losing the capacity to decrypt them, hence many such programmes leave some form of the flag to avoid double-dipping. Bitdefender would imitate the markers for many well-known ransomware strains, in effect instructing them, “Move on! You’ve already been here!” This method was too narrow to be viable. CryptoDrop appears to have vanished as well, leaving the CryptoDrop domain name available for purchase.

Ransomware Recovery

Ransomware Recovery is a service that provides ransomware recovery.
Even if ransomware manages to sneak past your antivirus, the chances are strong that an antivirus update will remove the attacker from your machine within a short period. Simply deleting the ransomware will not restore your data to its original state. Maintaining a protected cloud backup of your key files is the only surefire way to ensure that your data is never lost.

Despite this, depending on whatever ransomware strain has encrypted your files, there is a slim probability of restoring your data. The fact that your antivirus (or the ransom note) provides you with a name can be really helpful. Many antivirus manufacturers, including Kaspersky, Trend Micro, and Avast, keep a variety of one-time decryption software on hand for customers to use when needed. Sometimes, the programme will require the unencrypted original of a single encrypted file to correct the situation. When using a master decryption key, such as in the case of TeslaCrypt, the data is protected.

But, in reality, the best defence against ransomware is to prevent it from encrypting your files and encrypting your data. There are a variety of various ways that can be used to achieve this purpose.

Anti-Ransomware Strategies

A well-designed antivirus programme should be able to detect and destroy ransomware on the spot, but ransomware designers are notoriously difficult to detect. They put up considerable effort to circumvent both traditional signature-based malware detection and more flexible contemporary approaches. Once your antivirus software makes a mistake, a fresh and unknown ransomware assault can take advantage of the situation and leave your files inaccessible. Even if the antivirus software receives an update that removes the ransomware, it will not be able to restore the files.

A type of behaviour monitoring is now included in most modern antivirus software to enhance signature-based detection. Some people rely solely on the observation of malicious behaviour rather than on the detection of known hazards. Furthermore, behaviour-based detection, which is primarily targeted at ransomware behaviours involving encryption, is becoming more widespread.

Ransomware often targets files that are kept in common locations such as the desktop and the Documents folder on the computer. Some antivirus software and security suites prevent ransomware attacks from taking place by blocking unauthorised access to the infected computers. The majority of the time, they pre-approve well-known decent products like word processors and spreadsheets. When an unknown software attempts to gain access, it will prompt you, the user, to decide whether or not to accept access. You should block any notifications that arrive at you out of the blue and are not the result of your actions.

Without a doubt, employing an online backup programme to preserve a current backup of your vital files is the most effective method of protecting your computer against malware. First, you must locate and eliminate the malicious software, potentially with the assistance of your antivirus company’s technical support. Once that procedure is completed, you can simply restore the files that were previously backed up. It should be noted that certain ransomware will attempt to encrypt your backups as well. Backup systems in which your backed-up files are stored on a virtual disc drive may be particularly susceptible to compromise. For more information on ransomware protection, speak with your backup provider or see the product documentation.

Detecting Ransomware Behavior

Its free RansomFree tool served only one purpose during its existence: to identify and avert ransomware attacks, which Cybereason did not charge for. One particularly noticeable aspect of this programme was its ability to create “bait” files in locations that are commonly targeted by ransomware. Any attempt to make changes to these files resulted in a ransomware takedown being initiated. It also made use of other types of behaviour-based detection, although its inventors were understandably reticent to divulge too much information about it. What’s the point of telling the bad guys what behaviours to avoid? Unfortunately, keeping this free offering for consumers proved to be unfeasible for the company, which focuses on Enterprise customers.

Kaspersky Security Cloud Free, as well as a slew of other products, employ behaviour-based detection to detect and eliminate ransomware that manages to get past your usual antivirus. He or she does not rely on “bait” files; rather, they pay great attention to how applications interact with your genuine papers. When they detect ransomware, they place the threat in quarantine.

This is an important point to consider. Bait files are also used by ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware, however, they are not as noticeable as those used by RansomFree. In addition, it employs additional levels of security. It was able to beat all of our real-world ransomware strains in testing, restoring any files that had been corrupted and even erasing the bogus ransom notes that one of the instances had presented.

All sorts of malware, not just ransomware, are detected by Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, which uses behaviour patterns to do so. It does not interfere with known good processes and destroys known malware. When an application falls into neither of these categories, Webroot keeps a close eye on its activities. It prevents unknown individuals from establishing internet connections, and it records every local action. The unknown application is being investigated in depth at Webroot central throughout this period. It will use the journaled data to undo every action taken by the software, including encrypting files, if the application is determined to be malicious. The business does warn that the journal database is not limitless in size, and it also recommends that you back up all of your key files regularly. Several real-world ransomware samples were successfully rolled back by Webroot in our most recent round of testing, while several others were allowed to slip through the cracks.

The free Trend Micro RansomBuster protects your files by backing them up and keeping an eye out for suspicious processes that attempt to encrypt your files. The process is quarantined, the user is notified, and the backed-up files are restored when it identifies a process attempting several encryption attempts in fast succession. During our testing, this feature failed to detect half of the real-world ransomware samples that we threw at it. Trend Micro has confirmed that the multi-layered security provided by Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security is more effective in protecting against ransomware.