How to protect your PC against ransomware
best free ransomware protection for your computer
Ransomware is a particularly annoying and nasty type of malware that encrypts your files and keeps them hidden until you pay a “ransom”. In our article, we explain what it is, how it works and best free ransomware protection software that can help you protect against it.
What is ransomware and why should you protect yourself against it?
Ransomware is, as we have already said, a kind of malware that blocks access to your device or encrypts your files, preventing you from accessing them until you pay a sum of money. This deceptive malware can arrive through a Trojan, which any user could download by accident thinking that it is another file. But it can also spread without any concrete action on the part of the user, as is the case with WannaCry.
WannaCry has expanded very fast and is, perhaps, the most recent example of ransomware. It affected 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries by exploiting a vulnerability in Windows that leaked from the NSA. Another example of ransomware is Cerber, which infects your system through a Trojan horse and acts in the same way: encrypt your files and request a payment for them. You can catch it by downloading pirated movies or software.
Other examples of ransomware are CryptoLocker, Petya, Bad Rabbit, AES-NI and Osiris, among others. The average amount of money demanded the “rescue” of files in 2017 was 1,100 dollars.
Private users and companies need to protect their data against these types of threats with anti-ransomware software since each year is a more frequent and expensive problem. This year, there has been a 400% increase in new ransomware strains, which means that the known protection against such threats is not enough on its own. In addition, we must also protect against emerging threats and ‘zero-day’ attacks.
The average rescue demanded in 2017 was 1,100 dollars. Even if you already have an antivirus software, it is a good help to have an extra layer of protection against this specific type of malware because if you do not have it, it could cost you thousands of euros in payment for the “rescue” or damage to your files and your system. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable and free solutions to prevent ransomware attacks and keep your data safe. In the next section, we are going to tell you which one is our favourite and why it is the best one.
What is better software to protect your computer against ransomware?
There are many options to protect your PC against ransomware attacks, but from here we recommend Acronis Ransomware Protection. It is a free application with a wide range of benefits, which not only includes active prevention but also the backup and recovery of files.
By monitoring the behaviour of your system in real time, you can stop known ransomware attacks (such as WannaCry, Osiris and Petya) and new ones that have not yet been sent, also known as zero-day attacks.
This is how it works: if a suspicious process begins to try to encrypt your documents or infect your system, Acronis will stop the activity and notify you. Then, it will give you the option to block the activity permanently or let it continue if it was a false alarm (for example if you are encrypting your own files on purpose).
But it does not stop here. If the malware is capable of damaging or encrypting your documents, they can be restored from a local cache on your computer. In addition, Acronis offers 5 GB of free cloud storage, which is updated regularly, so you can have a backup copy of your most important files in it.
Why choosing Acronis?
There are other solutions out there to protect your system from ransomware, such as the free Bitdefender’s free Anti-Ransomware Tool, RansomFree from Cybereason, Trend Micro RansomBuster or even Avast Free, which offers free anti-ransomware and anti-virus protection. But Acronis is unique. In addition to active prevention, Acronis focuses on data protection and recovery. By offering a cache of your data locally on your computer and a backup in the cloud, you have double the protection not only against ransomware but also against other threats (including yourself).
If you accidentally break your laptop, delete your most important folder on Dropbox, download a virus or have any other unfortunate incident, your data is still safe with Acronis. This is the power of data protection and Acronis offers its ransomware protection software for free to show users how important it is.
Acronis Ransomware Protection does not compete with your antivirus, so you do not choose between different solutions but you get an additional layer of protection so there’s no reason why you should not download it. Acronis is intended to be used together with an antivirus, so you should already be running Windows Defender on your PC at least, in addition to something Bitdefender, ZoneAlarm or some other antivirus. For this, Acronis performs internal tests to ensure that its solution is compatible with the main antivirus solutions.
How to get Acronis Ransomware Protection for free?
Here is our step-by-step guide to download, install and configure Acronis Ransomware Protection. The first step is to download the installer from the official website (it only takes 20 MB). The application is compatible with PCs running Windows 7 SP1, 8, 8.1 or 10, does not slow down the performance of the computer and can be used together with other alternative antivirus or backup systems without any problem.
- After the download, you simply have to run the program to install the software. You will have to create an account, but you will not have to give more information than your name and email address. After installation and create your account, you will get a quick tutorial before moving on to the next main screen that shows two sections: Active Protection and Cloud backup.
- Active Protection (active protection) shows the “monitored” processes that you should pay attention to as potential threats (in blue) and secure processes that you do not have to worry about too much (in green). Obviously red means that a clearer malicious process has been detected. If you click on ‘Process Manager’ (manage processes) you can see everyone on the list and decide if you want to block them or trust them.
- In the Cloud backup section, you can click on the settings icon to select the documents and folders you want to perform continuous backups on the free 5 GB of cloud storage. If you like the service and have used all the free space available, you can increase to 250 GB for $ 9.99 a year, 500 GB for $ 19.99 or 1 TB for $ 39.99. To see the files saved in the backup click ‘Browse’ and you will be taken to the Acronis Cloud website.
Ransomware is something that you must protect your PC proactively with an additional layer of protection with your antivirus. There is a lot to keep in mind when choosing the right anti-ransomware software, such as the cost and whether or not it includes backup options and data recovery offline and in the cloud. Acronis Ransomware Protection offers active monitoring and protection, along with 5 GB of backup in the cloud in case the worst happens. And all for free.
Tell us your thoughts about security on your PC and defence against ransomware in the comments.