Antivirus isn't good enough: how to stop ransomware

Antivirus isn't good enough: how to stop ransomware

If you’ve got an antivirus on your PC, you might assume you’re covered against anything the web can throw at you. But protection against ransomware isn’t always built into antivirus software, and even if it is, the protection may be insufficient. Here’s why you should have anti-ransomware software in addition to your antivirus.

PC security is the last thing many of us want to think about, but you can’t just enable auto-updates for Windows, install an antivirus and forget about it forever. If you do, you could end up paying the price, quite literally. Ransomware is a type of malware that holds your files or your whole hard disk hostage until you pay up. Your computer can become infected through Trojans, seemingly innocent files you download that secretly contain malware. Ransomware can also spread without any user action at all, as in the case of WannaCry, a devastating attack which affected hundreds of thousands of PCs worldwide in 2017. According to statistics from Acronis, a data protection company, ransomware strikes another computer somewhere in the world every 10 seconds, and the average ransom demanded was $1,100 in 2017. Make sure you’re not next!

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Stats source: Acronis / Infographic: © NextPit

It’s tough to keep up with what your antivirus claims to protect against. Even if it says it protects against ransomware, you have to find out how the protection works to understand to what extent you’re covered.

Here’s what you should be asking about your level of ransomware coverage:

  • Does it just protect against known threats, or can it also recognize zero-day attacks (never-before-seen threats)?
  • Does it provide real-time system behavior monitoring?
  • Does it protect against encryption, alteration or deletion of selected folders or files?
  • Does it only provide vaccination against certain families of ransomware?
  • In the event of an attack, can it restore your files from a local cache?
  • If your whole disk is encrypted, can it restore your files from the cloud?

That’s a lot to wrap your head around. What’s worse is that there’s no single, perfect solution that does it all. That’s why we created a list of the best tools for protecting against ransomware which addresses the points above. 

What’s our recommendation?

It’s getting more and more critical to have specialized protection against ransomware that goes beyond your antivirus, as new strains of ransomware are proliferating at an alarming rate. We have a collaboration with a company called Acronis, which provides free protection against ransomware attacks. And while yes, we are indirectly benefiting from you going downloading their software, we did actually try it and we really like it.

Acronis Ransomware Protection was designed to work alongside your antivirus as an extra layer of protection. It works by monitoring your PC in real time, flagging suspicious processes, stopping zero-day attacks and backing up your files (locally and to the cloud). It’s free, easy to install and simple to use. It also includes 5 GB of cloud storage to protect your data.

Don’t let yourself be at risk of losing your most precious files or having to pay a huge ransom. Getting extra protection against ransomware is free.

Have you ever heard of ransomware like WannaCry? Have you ever been infected by ransomware? Tell us in the comments!

This article was written in collaboration with Acronis. 


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  • Tim Hunter Aug 6, 2018 Link to comment

    I'm surprised you didn't mention VPN. Seems like another well-known way to avoid ransomeware.

  •   16
    Deactivated Account Jul 15, 2018 Link to comment

    Lol dude there is no reliable way to stop Ransomware. Backups with redundancy (on and off site) are the only reliable protection. End user education is second. You shouldn't be pretending to understand this to the detriment of others. Everyone should disregard this article as a reliable source of information.

    • Brittany McGhee Aug 7, 2018 Link to comment

      There is no single reliable way to stop ransomware, which is why we suggest a combination of approaches. Also, as we stated clearly in the article, Acronis Ransomware Protection backs up files both locally and to the cloud.

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