How to protect your PC against ransomware
What is ransomware and why should you protect 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 come through a Trojan, which any user could accidentally download thinking it is another file.
But it can also be propagated without any concrete action on the part of the user, as is the case with WannaCry.
WannaCry has expanded very rapidly and is perhaps the latest 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 and acts in the same way: it encrypts your files and requests payment for them. You can catch him 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 for the "rescue" of files in 2017 was $1,100. Don't let this happen to you!
Private users and companies need to protect their data against these types of threats with anti-ransomware software, since every year it is a more frequent and expensive problem.
This year, there has been a 400% increase in new strains of ransomware, which means that known protection against these types of threats is not enough on its own. It is also necessary to protect against emerging threats and zero-day attacks.
The average ransom demanded in 2017 was $1,100. Even if you already have antivirus software, it helps to have an extra layer of protection against this specific type of malware because if you don't have it it can 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 will tell you which is our favorite and why it is the best.
What is the best 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, including not only active prevention but also file backup and recovery.
By monitoring the behavior 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.
Here's how it works: if a suspicious process starts trying to encrypt your documents or infect your system, Acronis will stop the activity and notify you.
It will then give you the option to permanently block the activity or let it continue if it was a false alarm (for example if you are encrypting your own files on purpose).
But it doesn't stop here. If 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 back up your most important files in the cloud.
Why choose Acronis?
There are other solutions out there to protect your system from ransomware, such as the free Bitdefender's free Anti-Ransomware Tool, Cybereason's RansomFree, Trend Micro RansomBuster or even Avast Free, which offers free ransomware and antivirus 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 cloud backup, you have twice the protection not only against ransomware but also against other threats (including yourself).
If you accidentally break your laptop, delete your most important folder in 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 doesn't compete with your antivirus, so you don't choose between different solutions but you get an additional layer of protection so there's no reason not to download it.
Acronis is intended to be used in conjunction with an antivirus, so you should already be running Windows Defender on your PC as a minimum, in addition to something like Bitdefender, ZoneAlarm or some other antivirus. To do this, Acronis performs internal testing to ensure that your solution is compatible with all major antivirus solutions.
How to Get Free Acronis Ransomware Protection
Here is our step-by-step guide to downloading, installing and configuring Acronis Ransomware Protection.
The first step is to download the installer from the official website (only occupies 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 downloading, simply run the program to install the software. You'll need to create an account, but you won't have to provide more information than your name and email address. After installation and creating your account, you will get a quick tutorial before moving on to the next main screen which shows two sections: Active Protection and Cloud backup.
The main Acronis Ransomware Protection Free screen
- Active Protection shows the "monitored" processes you should pay attention to as potential threats (in blue) and the secure processes you don't have to worry about too much (in green). Obviously red means that a clearer malicious process has been detected. If you click on 'manage processes' you can see all of them in the list and decide if you want to block or trust them.
Here you can block threats instantly
- In the Cloud backup section, you can click the settings icon to select the documents and folders you want to continuously back up to the 5 GB free cloud storage. If you like the service and have used all the free space available, you can increase it to 250 GB for $9.99 per year, 500 GB for $19.99 or 1 TB for $39.99. To view the files saved in the backup click 'Browse' and you will be taken to the Acronis Cloud website.
Ransomware is something you should proactively protect your PC against with an extra layer of protection next to your antivirus.
There is a lot to consider when choosing the right anti-ransomware software, such as cost and whether or not it includes offline and cloud data backup and recovery options.
Acronis Ransomware Protection offers active monitoring and protection, along with 5 GB of cloud backup in case the worst happens. And all for free.
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