It has been all over the news lately, the WannaCry Ransomware struck fear into organisations around the world. With huge attacks against global organisations like the NHS, how can one stay safe against the imminent threat of Ransomware?
Before we go further, let’s define what Ransomware is:
Ransomware is a category of malicious software designed to block access to your computer and files until you pay a sum of money. It does this by encrypting your files, often using unbreakable encryption levels. The victim will then be alerted via a popup or message box left on screen that in order to get their files back they will need to transfer money to the attackers who will then send the decryption key allowing you to unlock your encrypted files. Often your PC will be unusable and locked out with a black screen and a message will be displayed with a countdown style timer alerting you that if you do not pay the sum of money (usually around £300) before the countdown reaches zero, then your decryption key will be deleted and your data/files will remain encrypted and lost.
Below are some tips and links to free anti ransomware software that will help protect you.
Top 3 Free Anti Ransomware Solutions:
1) Bitdefender Anti Ransomware Tool
Bitdefender are a leading antivirus vendor from eastern Europe and like most antivirus vendors offer a suite of security tools.
Features and Limits of Free Version:
- Completely free for you to download and use, aims to block Ransomware from being installed.
- Software does not use much CPU power and sits in your system tray with a red icon.
- It uses the latest technology to protect against CTB-Locker, Locky, Petya and TeslaCrypt Ransomware attacks.
- Can run alongside most antivirus solutions.
- Non-intrusive and easy to use.
- Con: only protects against 4 types of anti Ransomware.
2) Kaspersky Anti Ransomware Tool
Kaspersky, originally a Russian firm offering a large and successful suite of antivirus software solutions is a highly respected vendor of security tools.
Features and Limits of Free Version:
- Completely free to download, aims to block Ransomware from being installed.
- Linked to Kaspersky’s main cloud database and gets daily updates of known threats.
- Good detection rate, for a free product.
- Can run alongside most other antivirus solutions.
- Con: English only.
3) Malwarebytes Anti Ransomware
Malwarebytes have produced an extremely successful set of anti malware tools and have now entered the anti ransomware market with a beta release.
- Free to use, with good detection rate and large database.
- Light installer which sits silently in your system tray.
- Works fine alongside other antivirus solutions.
- Con: beta still, use on production environment at your own risk.
Tips – How to protect yourself from Ransomware attacks:
- Take regular backups – it’s important to assume you will at some point become infected with malware/ransomware, because although the above solutions are very good, it’s simply not possible to protect against every emerging threat with 100% accuracy. You should aim to take regular backups that are ‘offsite’ using the cloud. Should you need a remote backup solution, get in touch with us and we can install a daily remote backup solution for on your key computer systems/servers.
- Be Vigilant – It’s important to be careful when opening emails, as phishing attacks and ‘click bait’ scams are the leading cause of Ransomware infections. If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of an email then do not open any links or attachments as these may infect you. Install some anti spam solutions to help fight rogue emails, we made a free anti-spam post here, so check that out. If you are a business looking for a corporate solution to filter spam/viruses and malware from emails before it enters your network, get in touch.
- Patch your systems – Keep your operating system fully up to date, ensure you have the latest security updates from Microsoft, Apple or your Linux distro vendors. If you patch against known security vulnerabilities, the Ransomware/malware will be unable to compromise your systems in the first place.
- Use Anti-virus and Anti-malware – As well as using one of the above Anti Ransomware solutions, you should have an up to date anti-virus solution AND anti-malware solution to protect you from a range of potential security threats.
- Hire an IT security expert – Find a contractor or full time employee via advertising a job on a cyber security jobs website to help you combat cyber criminals.
You may also be interested in our blog post on free anti-spam software.