The term "ransomware" is used broadly when discussing cybersecurity threats. However, not many users go into depth to understand what ransomware is and how it works. As with any pesky intruder, it's best to adequately study the essence of ransomware to counter it.
So, let's see what we're dealing with here.
Ransomware is a malware type designed to infiltrate a machine and employ encryption on all data on it.
By encrypting the data on a user's device, ransomware can hold it for ransom. If you don't rely on a robust cybersecurity solution, you won't be able to access your data until you pay a hefty sum to the attackers.
Most ransomware attacks strive to encrypt all the data on a device — files, folders, personally identifiable information (PII), databases, apps, etc. Ransomware can often spread across a network to target databases or file servers. If successful, it can render entire organizations powerless to access their data.
How does ransomware work?
We've cleared what damages follow a successful ransomware attack. But how does it manage to achieve its goals?
Well, firstly, ransomware uses asymmetric encryption. It's a cryptography type that relies on a pair of keys to encrypt and decrypt data. Attackers can generate a unique public-private pair of keys and store the private key (used to decrypt the data) on a server of their choice.
Typically, it's expected of the attacker to present the victim with the private key once the ransom is paid. However, every ransomware campaign differs. Sometimes, paying the ransom would only bring riches to the attackers, but the user won't receive a private key to decrypt their data. And without a decryption key, it's nearly impossible to "free" your data from the claws of encryption.
That is true, of course, if you don't have a secure backup of your data stored on an external device or the cloud.
Malware relies on an attack vector to successfully reach an endpoint and infiltrate a system. Once that's done, ransomware can persist on a network until its goal is satisfied. Even if most forms of ransomware do pretty much the same thing, the state of infection may vary. It can be distributed through malicious emails, targeted attacks, or even pop-up ads.
Following a successful exploit, the ransomware will typically drop and execute a corrupted binary on the infected device or system. The binary then scours the victim's data to encrypt valuable files – images, MS Word documents, databases, system apps, etc.
Some ransomware attacks aim to spread the infection further. They'd search and exploit system and network vulnerabilities to "jump" to other systems and potentially across an entire organization. Home users rarely enable mass system exploits, but ransomware would take much less time to spread across their entire system.
Once ransomware encrypts your files, you'd typically be prompted to pay a ransom within 24 to 48 hours to decrypt your data. If you fail to do so, your data could be lost for good. If you lack a reliable way to recover your files from external storage, you'd probably be forced to pay the ransom and hope to receive a decryption key to recover your data.
Different types of ransomware
Ransomware comes in many forms and intensities. However, we can divide ransomware attacks into four primary categories.
Scareware usually fakes issues on the infected device. The user typically sees a message on their screen notifying of a detected virus or malware. Amid the panic, you can click on the alert and unleash the malware.
Once clicked, the pop-up notification will redirect the victim to a "secure" page to resolve the issue. Once the user follows the malicious link, attackers can steal their personal or financial information.
Encryptors fit the most general description of ransomware. They'd infiltrate a system, encrypt all data on it and hold it hostage until the victim pays a ransom — hoping to receive a decryption key.
Lockers don't encrypt data to prevent file or app access. Instead, they aim to prevent the use of your entire device. Following a locker attack, the victim typically sees a lock screen displaying ransom details alongside a ticking timer to create a sense of urgency.
Doxware / leakware
Doxware often aims to scam a user or a company into paying a ransom via threats of releasing sensitive data online. Doxware usually targets businesses with the threat of releasing confidential files or intellectual property, but it can also target individual users.
With the rising popularity and success of ransomware attacks, we can follow the emergence of RaaS — a ransomware-as-a-service cybercrime economic model. The model allows malware developers to monetize their efforts without distributing ransomware attacks on their own.
Any nontechnical criminal can use the designed ransomware and launch infection campaigns over unsuspecting victims. If the attacks are successful, the developers will receive a percentage of the spoils. This model ensures relative safety for the developers as their customers do most of the hustle after the code is created.
With such an option, ransomware threats emerge faster and more malicious daily. However, easy access to developers is not the only reason for the rise of ransomware.
Why is ransomware spreading at alarming rates?
Another modern cyberthreat hardly matches the evolution rate of ransomware attacks. The rapid development rate is possible due to several reasons:
- The so-called "malware kits" can be accessed easily and used to create new ransomware samples on demand.
- New ransomware techniques emerge swiftly, such as encrypting a complete disc instead of file-by-file encryption.
The above reasons, combined with the rapid sprouting of ransomware marketplaces, enable a vastly wider pool of potential hackers. Nowadays, even non-tech-savvy attackers can carry out successful ransomware campaigns. Additionally, there's another general reason for ransomware perpetrators to flourish.
Finding ransomware attackers is often virtually impossible
The rise of cryptocurrency allows cybercriminals to demand ransom payments in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Following the money trail on such payments is challenging and makes tracking criminals nearly impossible.
In addition, threat actors can gather in groups to design and carry out sophisticated ransomware attacks for quick profits. The accelerated ransomware creation process (due to highly available open-source code and drag-and-drop platforms) allows novice scripters to create their own ransomware. Moreover, modern-day ransomware is typically polymorphic by design, meaning it can easily bypass traditional signature-based cybersecurity tools.
Combining all of the above turns ransomware into a nightmarish threat for unsuspecting victims.
To counter it, users should know where ransomware usually lurks and do their best to avoid it.
How can you become a victim of ransomware?
There are several primary ways to fall victim to ransomware. You can better prepare a solid anti-ransomware plan for your home by understanding the various attack vectors used by cybercriminals to inject malicious code.
Phishing emails are the most common cause of ransomware infections. Attackers can design the email body, attach a malicious link or a file and carry out a massive phishing campaign, reaching tens of thousands of users.
They can also narrow their attack surface and focus on a specific organization or group of users. With some ransomware threats, it's enough for a single user to interact with the malicious code to spread it further across their email contact list or home network.
The two major ways to come across ransomware in an email are:
- Opening or downloading a malicious attachment; those attachments can come in different forms — Word documents, PDFs, .zip files, .exe apps, etc.
- Following infected links that lead to corrupted websites. Clicking on an infectious link can also automatically download Trojans, spyware, or keyloggers onto your machine.
Even if you know the two primary email ransomware threats, there's another one not reliant on email. Smishing is a relatively new form of phishing. It allows scammers to trick users into exposing personal or financial data via SMS text messages.
Typically, the SMS will contain a link or an image alongside a polite message enticing victims to open the attachments. Once a user follows the instructions in the SMS, they will be redirected to a website and be prompted to enter sensitive information into a form or download executable ransomware directly to their smartphone.
Adware is designed to disguise malware via ads in an expected ad space.
In sophisticated ransomware campaigns, false ads can appear on legitimate, well-known websites. They look like an actual banner or a secure pop up prompting the user to support the website.
Even if the ad seems like a standard advertisement, it can trigger a ransomware download as soon as you click on it. In some cases, clicking on the "X" to close the ad can be enough to rain down malicious code on your entire network.
Malvertising is typically linked to an exploit kit designed to scan your system and find potential vulnerabilities the attackers can exploit. Once the kit is done scouting your device, it can install malicious code on it.
The most common topics used by malvertising are free offers for a service or a product, exciting videos or beautiful pictures, pending message notifications, adult images or other personal or financial well-being promises.
Infected URLs are among the most commonly used tactics to distribute ransomware. At first sight, they can look legitimate, especially if you don't have the habit of checking the security state of a webpage.
Clicking on an infected link through an email or an unverified website can trigger an instant ransomware download to your computer or smartphone. Such ransomware attacks are known as "drive-by downloads." Even if you knowingly don't click a download button on the site, you can still get infected by a shadow download.
However, you can avoid most malicious websites by inspecting their URL. Any legitimate business would have their URL spelling flawless. You can hover over links to inspect their spelling without engaging them. Nonetheless, many sophisticated ransomware attacks are challenging to spot.
To ensure you won't fall victim to such an attack, it's best to never open links you haven't inspected thoroughly. All in all, it's better to miss out on a real product deal here and there rather than lose access to your data.
Social engineering campaigns may differ significantly depending on the chosen victim group. However, the fundamentals of such campaigns are pretty much the same.
Such an attack would attempt to trick users into sharing private or sensitive information to compromise their system or to use against them. Cybercriminals often pose as legitimate parties to entice the user into cooperation – attackers can impersonate law enforcement officials, IT support specialists and even CEOs of companies.
Social engineering campaigns can be carried out via email, SMS text messages, phone calls, online chat rooms, social media and more. After they receive the necessary information, cybercriminals can launch devastating cyberattacks. Following a successful social engineering campaign, the attack can be especially damaging if the shared data involves high-level access credentials or network logins.
Remote desktop protocol (RDP) attacks
Remote desktop protocol (or "RDP") is a Microsoft Windows OS function allowing one or several users to connect to another network or a server remotely.
Hackers can infiltrate a system via RDP and attempt to steal data or install ransomware. Once attackers are inside a system or a network, they can gain complete control over the data on it. They can override security software, delete data, or download and execute ransomware to hold your data hostage.
RDP attacks primarily target users with poor password protection, outdated endpoint security, and unsecured networks. And since Windows is a prime choice for over 90% of global users, cybercriminals have plenty of targets for carrying out RDP attacks.
Even if big companies present a wider surface for such attacks, they boast enhanced security (two-step authentication, stronger passwords and more robust antimalware solutions).
On the other hand, small businesses rely on weaker cybersecurity tools or don't have a security strategy in place. This is why such organizations are the biggest target for RDP attacks.
Typical targets of ransomware
Ransomware attacks can strike any device connected to the internet. Even if they typically target businesses, individual users can also fall victim to an attack.
Statistically, over 5% of businesses in the leading ten industry sectors have reported ransomware attacks in the past years. Below we'll list the top 10 industries targeted over the past few years.
- Business, legal, and professional services
- Central government
- Energy and utility infrastructure
- Local government
- Financial services
Even if an industry doesn't make the list, that doesn't mean it's not a target. What's more, enterprises aren't the only prey. Small to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can also suffer from a ransomware attack.
In addition, SMBs may be more vulnerable as they often lack the needed resources to counter cyberattacks. Moreover, big companies can afford anti-ransomware seminars and education sessions for their employees, while SMBs would like to cut down on non-critical business costs.
Here lies the issue. We can read about devastating ransomware attacks on the web or hear about it on the news, but the targets there are almost always big companies. As ransomware is a relatively new type of cybervillain, many SMBs (and individual users for that matter) don't perceive it as a real threat.
This misconception is boosted by how media operates — it's way more "attractive" to report a hit on a globally-known enterprise rather than focus on single attacks on individual users and SMBs. It's understandable, but leaves ransomware awareness for home users and SMBs aside.
Even if they focus mostly on "big hits," media outlets still put ransomware on the map as far as public knowledge goes. The attack type has become so widespread that most businesses have already experienced (or will experience in the future) some form of ransomware attack.
As the threat isn't going anywhere soon, it's best to be prepared and know how to minimize the impact of pesky intruders.
As we've mentioned, phishing emails, malicious attachments, fraudulent links and compromised webpages are the primary carriers of ransomware.
Here, it's critical to understand that a phishing email can entice any user to infect their machine, whether they work in a big company or are just chilling at home. There are intensely targeted ransomware attacks, but many threat actors rely on sending mass email chains in hopes of catching unsuspecting users with their guard down ("phishing," as a term, derives from this approach).
So, individual users who don't educate themselves on sensible online habits will also be a top target for ransomware.
Users who open every email they get can be a good target for attackers.
Additionally, someone who doesn't check the sender but instead focuses on the message could also be a juicy target. As phishing emails use enticing language and claims for fortune, users may be tricked into clicking on a ransomware link labeled "Click here to win a trip to an exotic resort!" The exotic resort, of course, turns out to be DarnItLand. And the journey there often proves to be very expensive.
Even if that example is kind of old school, we bet it can still work with some users.
Users with poor browsing understanding can also become a neat target.
If you have no regard for the websites you visit, you can easily click on a malicious link or a compromised pop-up ad. Again, such approaches rely on glorious messages and flashy invites. If you're clicker happy, chances are you can download ransomware and only become aware of it only after your data is encrypted.
There are also software reasons to become a target of ransomware. If your primary device is old, it may mean its built-in defenses are lower or that attackers know all its existing vulnerabilities. In addition, the device's software may be outdated, translating to an exploitable attack surface for hackers.
If you fail to patch your browsers and operating system, that can also be an invitation to ransomware.
To make sure your system is up to date and ready to counter ransomware, it's best to run a vulnerability scan using a dedicated cybersecurity solution. The scan can alert you of possible security vulnerabilities in the OS and programs on your machine; by detecting them, you can understand the weak spots in your system and fortify them against pesky attacks.
Anti-ransomware tactics for your home
Now that you’re familiar with the common reasons for ransomware strikes, let's explore how to upgrade your home network's defenses. You can choose whether to employ any of the guidelines below; however, having ensured all of them maximizes your chances of fighting off a ransomware attack.
Keep all devices in your home network clean
Understanding that every connected device on your home network can invite ransomware is critical. To counter nasty attacks, you can start by ensuring endpoint security across your whole network.
Keep all devices with an active internet connection running with the latest OS, browsers, and cybersecurity software. Keep in mind that mobile devices connected to your Wi-Fi also count as potential entry points for attackers, so make sure to secure those.
Secure your Wi-Fi router
If you're running more than a couple of devices in your home network, chances are you rely on a Wi-Fi router to spread internet access across all machines.
As the router is a critical access point for all connected devices, it's vital to secure it correctly. To do that, you can:
- Change the router's default name
Your router's default ID is called a "service set identifier" (SSID) or, sometimes, an "extended service set identifier" (ESSID). It's assigned to your router by its manufacturer and is usually something recognizable to cybercriminals — typically, it includes the make and model of your router.
As attackers study the known and potential vulnerabilities of different entry points, knowing your router's make and model will potentially ease their quest to penetrate your network. If you change the router name to something unique, you'll add an extra step between lurking third parties and your data.
In addition, you can change your router's default passcode (or passphrase).
A strong password usually consists of at least 12 characters — letters, numbers and special symbols. Additionally, the strongest passwords aren't comprised of recognizable words (even if those are easier to remember, it's better to use something a hacker won't be able to guess easily).
Moreover, choose WPA2 as your router's security option. If WPA2 is unavailable, opt for WPA, as these two levels offer more security than the WEP option.
Also, if you're often the host of friends and family, it's best to create a guest passcode on your Wi-Fi. This will allow visitors to join your Wi-Fi via a separate network, just for them. This way, even if someone using your Wi-Fi downloads ransomware, the damage will be contained on the guest network.
Lastly, use a firewall. Firewalls are designed to counter hackers attempting to harvest your personal information without your permission. While anti-malware software scans all incoming traffic to detect viruses and other threats, a firewall is more of a two-way guard. It monitors access attempts and blocks communication with sources you haven't permitted.
Enable multifactor authentication (MFA) on all accounts (when possible)
Most users probably know this one, but it's still worth noting.
Two-factor authentication allows you to protect your accounts even if someone guesses or gets hold of your password. When they attempt to use your password to compromise your accounts, hackers will be presented with a message prompting them to enter a security key, submit a biometric scan or present other means of authentication.
In addition, use long and complex passwords for all of your accounts. And, preferably, don't use the same password for multiple accounts.
Having ensured all of the above steps will raise your guard against cyberattacks. However, besides having a robust anti-ransomware solution, the most crucial approach to countering ransomware remains your browsing habits.
We've discussed the common ransomware "carriers" above, but now, we want to reiterate the good habits of countering nasty malware.
Let's go over them now.
Avoid clicking on unsafe links
While unsafe links do like to lurk in phishing emails, they can reside in many other places — fraudulent websites, pop-up ads, and even SMS text messages.
It's highly recommended not to click on links in email attachments if you aren't sure about the sender's legitimacy. The same goes for websites — if it seems fishy, it probably is.
With websites, you can always check the URL. If it starts with "https," that "s" at the end shows that the site has security protocols enabled and running. If it begins with "http," this indicates that the site doesn't have active security enabled.
Now, there may be sites without security protocols, and it would still be okay to browse those; one example is personal blog sites. Nonetheless, the exceptions to the rule aren't enough to justify ignoring it.
If you click on a malicious link, it can instantly enable ransomware download(s) on your machine. If you don't have anti-ransomware software to detect the intruder, you may find your data encrypted in no time.
Don't disclose personal information
Here, the general rule is as follows: don't disclose any personal information when prompted by an email, call, or text message from an unverified source.
If you disclose personal information, even if it seems harmless, ransomware attackers may use that information to plan a customized attack against you. They can gather personal facts about you (name, age, city of residence, etc.) and then compile a specific message, enclose it in a phishing email and entice you to click on the embedded link.
If you have any suspicions about an incoming message, it's best to contact the supposed sender directly.
For example, if a savings company offers you "the deal of your life," if you follow the link and fill out a form, you can take the time to check them online. Do they have a website, does its URL start with "https," does it have any customer reviews, etc.?
However, even if the website looks legit, it's still better to browse their Contacts page and find a number you can call. You can then phone the company and verify if they have sent you the email.
This is done because many attackers try to disguise themselves as legitimate sources. You may often overlook otherwise alarming details and fall victim to a well-presented phishing message.
Never open suspicious email attachments
The suggestions for treating the previous section apply here, too.
Any email attachment can carry ransomware. One wrong click can lead to losing access to your data indefinitely. Or for good.
Luckily, you can inspect any email thoroughly before interacting with it. Again, pay close attention to the sender's address. Even if it seems legit, make sure to double check it. It may be a missing letter, a repeated letter, or a nonexisting department of a well-known brand that gives away a fraudulent email.
Moreover, never open attachments that require running macros to view them. If the attachment is malicious, opening its macro may give control over your device to the attackers in an instant.
Lastly, if you're unsure why the sender would be sending you an email, don't open the attachment, even if it looks legit.
If you suspect it may be important, find a way to contact the sender directly and ask them about the email.
Don't trust unknown external media carriers (USBs, external HDDs, etc.)
Any USB or other storage media can carry ransomware ready to emerge within your device. It's best not to connect any external storage device if you're unsure of its origin.
It may sound redundant, but this goes for USBs or other drives you may have found lying in a public place.
Keep all software and firmware up to date
Regularly updating all operating systems and programs is good functionality practice. Here, it serves an extra purpose — security patches add additional layers of defense against malware and also fix known vulnerabilities in the software you're running.
If you fail to apply security patches as soon as they're available, attackers may target the unpatched vulnerabilities explicitly, as those can be read in the public patch notes.
The same goes for your router's firmware updates, as it is a crucial entry point to your home network.
Download only from reputable sources
The internet is swarming with malicious links capable of downloading ransomware onto your computer. This is why it's best never to download files from an unknown or unverified source. Downloading from sketchy sites or links is similar to offering burglars a key to your house.
Again, you can check the site's URL — if it starts with "https," you're good to go. If you see "http" at the beginning, it's probably better to deny downloads from it. In addition, shield or lock symbols in the address bar can indicate that the page is verified and secure.
Mobile devices aren't immune to ransomware, so follow the security guidelines for them as well. It's safe to use the native stores for your smartphone (Google Play or Apple App Store), but all else should undergo a thorough check before you download anything from it.
Use an anti-ransomware solution
All the above habits combined with a robust anti-ransomware solution make for the most sensible defense against ransomware.
Anti-ransomware isn't a must, but it greatly benefits your cybersecurity plan. It brings peace of mind and actively assists in automation and threat negation.
For example, many solutions scan your device for viruses and apply content filters on email servers to prevent ransomware. In addition, having a dedicated antimalware service results in fewer spam emails carrying malicious attachments or corrupted links.
One of the robust solutions available is Acronis Active Protection. It relies on advanced anti-ransomware technology and protects all data on your devices – media files, documents, programs, apps, and more.
The solution constantly observes patterns in how a data file is changed on a system. One pattern of behavior may be typical, so it can be labeled as "expected". The software inspects such patterns and compares them against ransomware behavior patterns. In this way, it can identify incoming virtual attacks and prove beneficial even for ransomware variants yet to be reported by users.
It also includes the allowlist and denylist options. As Active Protection detects new threats based on already identified patterns (or learned ones), it can "teach" itself as time passes. It will adjust results to reduce false positive detection of nonthreatening files. This way, it can optimize its allowlist to include programs that are expected to perform specific actions so that it wouldn't tag them as unauthorized in the future.
As Acronis also offers backup solutions, sophisticated attacks may try to compromise the backup software itself to corrupt created backups. However, Acronis has implemented a high-end self-defense mechanism to deny such attempts; even if attackers launch a strike on the software, the defenses will kick in and restrict disruption of the Acronis application or backup file contents.
Moreover, the solution will monitor the Master Boot Record on Windows-based machines and won't allow any illegitimate changes, so you'd be able to boot your computer properly anytime.
If ransomware is persistent enough (or if helped by the user) and manages to break through and start encrypting files, Acronis can quickly detect it and halt the process. Due to its comprehensive nature, the solution will be able to recover any already encrypted data as you'll have several backups available for data restoration.
Even if you don't choose Acronis as your primary anti-ransomware solution, having one is critical if you operate with sensitive data.
Backup refers to creating a copy of your data and transferring it to external storage. You can choose local storage (external HDD, flash drives, local server) or the cloud as your storage destinations.
Essentially, backups are a failsafe way to securely keep all data (on as many devices as you need) away from your primary machines. A backup resides in storage and can be restored in the event of data loss.
Data loss can occur in various ways. While ransomware is among the most challenging, you can lose data due to hard drive failure, human error, natural disaster or even physical theft of the device.
Regardless of the reason, you can recover all your data from backup. It's best to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule to ensure you'll always have at least one operational backup copy at your disposal.
The 3-2-1 approach involves having three separate backups of your data stored on different platforms. One backup can reside on-site in local (physical) backup; the second can be stored off-site (again, in physical storage), while the third can chill on the cloud.
This way, you can counter any data loss event and quickly restore your data to your chosen device.
Individual users can back up any file type they want, with the most common options being pictures, videos, music files, address books, emails, documents, spreadsheets and financial databases.
As for businesses, there are customer database backups, configuration files, operating systems, machine images and registry files.
Importance of anti-ransomware solution for your home
Imagine your home network as a fortress. The fortress hosts people and battle machines to defend its walls. While your browsing habits are the city's negotiators, capable, wise and insightful — they can only moderate the levels of risk on your fortress.
If a negotiator invites an attack on the city in any way, it's up to the fortress' defenses to fight off the attack. You have firewalls to wreak fiery havoc on attackers, router protection to secure hidden entrances to the fortress, and security updates to fortify the defense towers and rain down arrows on the malicious intruders.
However, if all else fails, the big guy will come to aid. A seemingly sleeping gargantuan, anti-ransomware can unite all protectors of the city and blow the attackers away.
Here's how it does that.
Cybersecurity against all online threats
Most modern anti-ransomware solutions come as a package deal. You may only want to install specifically anti-ransomware, but you'll also get antivirus and overall anti-malware tools.
The added cybersecurity features would be able to detect various online threats, not only ransomware. This is good, because, many times, viruses can carry a ransomware installer; getting infected by a virus would be the same as directly downloading encrypting malware on your computer.
In addition, Trojans and spyware can also deliver severe blows to your home system. Equipped with the tools to fight off malicious programs of any sort, the anti-ransomware solution can develop a list of "good" and "bad" files to polish its behavior and focus entirely on ill-intentioned threats.
Soon after installing such a solution, users will realize that the gargantuan, even if operating as a single entity, is a hive mind capable of covering any angle of defense against cyberthreats.
Countering phishing attacks
As we've talked a lot about phishing attacks, we won't be going into detail regarding their nature here.
The crucial thing to note is that anti-ransomware can block out malicious attachments and deny opening compromised email links. While it's good practice not to interact with such items from the get-go, anti-ransomware can cover you if you accidentally slip and click on a link or an attachment in a phishing email.
Removable devices scans
We've discussed how USB flash drives can carry ransomware.
Anti-ransomware solutions can scan any connected external device before interacting with your computer. Identifying potential threats will block device access until it examines the danger and presents you with options to proceed.
In addition, some solutions can isolate threatening files without impacting the performance of the current task. They can put the unknown executables in a "virtual container" and only then allow the program to interact with your device. This way, you can use the program effectively, but it won't have access to your computer's data or other resources.
Added firewall protection
Firewall features in dedicated solutions surpass in-built firewalls in effectiveness. Think of it as capable of adding even more fire to the standard tools blocking malicious data traffic.
The dedicated firewall will monitor the home network's outgoing and incoming data traffic. If it detects any suspicious data, it will block it from being transmitted.
It will also be able to study it and determine whether to report it or allow it on the network.
Blocking spam and malicious ads
As we've mentioned, a significant volume of ransomware is distributed via spam and pop-up ads.
Efficient anti-ransomware will hunt down and counter suspicious spam emails and deny malicious ads access to your device. Even if you click on such an ad, the software will most likely be able to counter the executable before it infiltrates your system.
Suppose you don't have a defender in place and click on a malicious spam or adware. In that case, you can compromise your computer's data and privacy and enable financial gain for attackers, even if they don't choose to throw ransomware at you.
A faster computer performance
Modern anti-ransomware is designed to operate quietly in the background. If you don't need it, you won't notice its existence. Only when it hears your call will it rise and do its job.
In addition to not disturbing you with unnecessary alerts, the solution can delete unwanted folders and optimize your device to run faster. This feature, of course, is customizable, and you can ensure you won't lose any essential files via sensible configuration.
Identity theft protection
Spyware attacks are a bit different than ransomware, but they are a force to be reckoned with. They are designed and delivered to steal personally identifiable information (PII) from infected devices.
Such information can include personal details, banking data, social security numbers, credit card numbers, account passwords and other critical data.
Some instances of spyware can run quietly in the background and wait for a specific action to trigger its purpose. For example, the malware can bide its time until you decide to shop online and input your credit card information in a legitimate form to complete a purchase.
If you don't have anti-spyware tools to counter it, the malicious code can record your payment info and use it as if you were using it.
Ease of mind
Manually detecting threats is borderline impossible for a single user. Even if you realize ransomware has been installed on your device, it will be too late to counter it, as the malware would already be active on the computer.
While its primary purpose is to counter malicious actors, anti-ransomware can also run around the fortress and assist in other tasks. Comprehensive anti-ransomware software can fight off various online threats, aid in automated backups, and boost device performance.
If you pile up the number of automated tasks you'd be getting with a robust solution, you'll see that such software can cut down on time, effort, costs, and even nerves, typically "spent" by the user.
After some time using it, you'll be able to grasp the work done by the solution fully and even improve its settings to optimize your backups, anti-ransomware defenses, and device performance even further.
Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.