Free Protection Against Ransomware
More than 70% of new malware released these days is of the ransomware variety. Why? Because it works! Ransomware takes all of a user’s data hostage, a terrifying moment for most of us. Only by paying a few hundred dollars can you get the key that unlocks your data, the extortionists claim. Many people pay quickly under the pressure and anxiety. Let's proactively deal with that problem -- check out these free tools to block and recover from ransomware...
Prevent and Recover From Ransomware Attacks
Prevention of infections by ransomware is the first line of defense. Recovery of data from clean backups is the next resort, ideally. If you don’t have a clean backup, there are tools that may be able to break the lock on your data. In today's article, I'll introduce you to some free tools to block ransomware before it can scramble your files, and recover from ransomware if it sneaks through your defenses.
There are two types of ransomware. One encrypts your data, while the other simply walls you off from it with a “lock screen” that must be unlocked with a password. Trend Micro’s Ransomware Screen Unlocker Tool is designed for the latter. Two versions are available: one for PCs that can still be booted in Safe mode and the other for PCs that can’t.
Encryption is the favorite method of ransomware these days. Several free tools attempt to prevent ransomware encryption. Some tools rely on the digital signatures of known ransomware variants, and thus are always behind in the arms race. But a high percentage of ransomware in the wild is based upon these known variants, so signature-based tools offer a fairly high degree of protection.
Bitdefender’s Anti-Ransomware Tool detects and blocks the CTB-Locker, Locky, Petya, and TeslaCrypt ransomware families of ransomware. If you already run the Bitdefender security suite, ransomware protection is built in. If you use other antimalware software, the ransomware tool alone can run right alongside of it.
Other ransomware tools use behavioral analysis to thwart ransomware before it encrypts your data. This approach relies on knowing what sorts of behaviors precede actual encryption activity. Barkly, RansomFree, and Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool are examples of this breed. The first two must be updated whenever their developers find another telltale behavior that should trigger a block. Kaspersky’s tool taps the constantly updated database of worldwide ransomware incidents maintained by the company.
If Your Data is Already Encrypted
If your data is already encrypted by ransomware, there are some tools that may be able to decrypt all or part of it. They’re not exactly fully automated, though.
Avast offers multiple decryption tools but you need to know what kind of ransomware is holding your data hostage before you an download the right tool. Trend Micro’s Ransomware File Decryptor has a single version for all 26 types of ransomware it can decrypt, but you still need to tell it which variant has infected your machine. Trend Micro’s documentation says,
“Most ransomware usually includes a text file or html file to inform the user that his/her system has been infected by a certain type of ransomware. Using this information, an affected user can select the suspected ransomware name to decrypt files. Users having trouble identifying the type of ransomware should contact Trend Micro Technical Support for further assistance.”
How do you browse a hard drive for a text or html file if you’re locked out of the drive? I suppose a bootable recovery disk is the logical option. You would boot from the recovery disk and then browse the infected drive from the command line. But that's rather geeky, so this would be a tool of last resort if you can get help from a tech-savvy friend.
Neither of these decrypting tools promises to decrypt all of your files, and either may be stumped by new variants of ransomware. The best protection is to regularly back up your data.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Jun 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Protection Against Ransomware (Posted: 23 Jun 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved