Best Ransomware Protection

By Luka Arežina July 17, 2020

Ransomware attacks have become common threats in recent years as news reports detailed the way Petya, TeslaCrypt, WannaCry, and other malware paralyzed computers around the world. Experts say there are nearly 3 million ransomware variants. Attacks are launched against individuals and organizations every day.   

Antivirus companies have responded with strong protection systems that fight successfully against ransomware threats. Most of these applications can stop and block ransomware; the very best ransomware protection programs can even recover encrypted files and restore your access to data.

Best Ransomware Protection in 2020

  • Free version
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • User friendly
  • Still in beta version
  • Occasional false positives
Price $39.99/year
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  • Free version
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • User friendly
  • Still in beta version
  • Occasional false positives
Price $39.99/mo
Learn More
  • Easy to install and use
  • Multiple layers of protection against ransomware
  • Fast scanning
  • Can’t buy ransomware protection as separate app
  • The basic package is only for Windows
Price $4.9/mo
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  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cryptocurrency mining protection
  • Reduced false positives
  • Expensive
  • Minimum impact on system preferences
Price $49.99/year
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  • Free version
  • Password manager
  • Detects and disables ransomware in real-time
  • Can’t decrypt infected files
  • Could have a better user interface
Price $39.99/year
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  • Reliable protection against malware and ransomware
  • Fast scanning
  • Easy to use
  • Can’t recover infected files
  • Runs slowly
Price $69.99/mo
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Protecting against ransomware: Is it even possible?

The short answer? Yes.

It’s much better to prevent attacks than to recover from them. After all, even the best products can’t stop every attack, and there’s always a chance you’ll lose some of your files for good. It’s best to buy products that know how to avoid ransomware in the first place.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts or locks your PC and data until you pay a ransom to regain access. This type of malware can hack the entire hard disk and disable access to the system, but in most cases it encrypts individual files and folders. That way you can still use the computer to pay the ransom.

If you don’t have one of the products reviewed here, ransomware removal requires payment to the hackers, who are the only ones who know the encryption key or procedure for unlocking your data. And there is no guarantee that they will share that information with you once they have received your Bitcoins.

How to prevent ransomware

When it comes to ransomware, prevention is much better than recovery. There are numerous steps you can take to protect your devices. One of the most basic is to be careful about what email attachments you open. Most cyberattacks – including ransomware attacks – happen when you open a file you’ve received as part of a phishing scam. Infected emails can look as if they’re coming from trusted users, but you should be careful with those and avoid downloading malicious attachments.

MacOS, Android, and Windows ransomware protection also means you should not give administrative access to unfamiliar apps, especially if you’re not sure what they’re doing.

The next thing you can do to protect your files is to save them all on the cloud. There are numerous companies – Acronis being one – that offer both cloud backup services and protection against destructive ransomware and other malware.

Secure Wi-Fi is also important for protecting your computer. If you’re connected to a public network, you should use a VPN connection. Downloading should only be done from trusted and reliable websites. For example, the best Android ransomware protection strategy includes downloading apps only from Google Play Store.

The best malware software can also help you stop hackers from encrypting your files. Many antivirus companies offer affordable antivirus and anti-ransomware products. If you aren’t using one, read our reviews, pick a product, and install it. You’ll be glad later if the worst comes to pass.

How we evaluate the best ransomware protection products

Antivirus, backup, and cloud-service companies all offer products that can help you to protect PCs, mobile devices, and servers from ransomware attacks. The criteria we use to evaluate the best products are these: price, usability, recovery features, and antivirus protection.

Price

The best ransomware product in the world is of no use if you can’t afford it. That’s why price is always a consideration.

Luckily, these products are all affordable and they all offer great value. Although less expensive versions are tempting, read through the specs and consider the high stakes. Paying a bit more for a lot more protection may be your best strategy. Of course, there are free ransomware software solutions that make the price issue moot, but they’re typically not good enough to defeat a serious ransomware hack.

Usability

The next metric is usability. Most vendors offer excellent ransomware protection for Windows 10, but Windows is not the only operating system that can be affected by ransomware. We gave higher ratings to products that protect almost all operating systems, including MacOS, iOS, and Android.

Recovery feature

This is the most important feature. These products are designed to detect ransomware behavior and stop the encryption of your files immediately. The best of them recover encrypted files and stop the ransomware attack in its tracks.

Antivirus and backup features

A good antivirus system is crucial in preventing ransomware attacks. Features like VPN, anti-phishing options, and spyware blockers can help you avoid malicious sites and apps.

Online and offline backup is also a useful feature. If the anti-ransomware software solution you buy isn’t able to decrypt your files, you’ll be glad to have up-to-date backups.

1. ZoneAlarm

" Best for recovering infected files "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • User friendly
  • Still in beta version
  • Occasional false positives

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • User friendly
  • Still in beta version
  • Occasional false positives
  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Malwarebytes provides the best malware protection for all operating systems. It has products for individuals as well as for large enterprises, and the company recently released a ransomware protection product. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware is still undergoing beta testing, but it is already, in its not-quite-final form, one of the best solutions to protect your devices from malicious apps. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware is a module that comes with Malwarebytes Premium. This package includes antivirus protection that can remove all kinds of viruses and spyware from your computer. It costs $39.99 per year for a single device. Once you have Malwarebytes Premium, you can use Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware for free

Like ZoneAlarm, Malwarebytes ransomware protection works on the basis of behavioral monitoring. The system protects your devices from ransomware apps that can encrypt your files. It detects changes to key files and registers a notification upon identifying suspicious actions. 

Despite the fact that the software was still in beta testing during the preparation of this article, it did a good job of detecting common ransomware like TeslaCrypt, CTB-Locker, and Cryptowall. 

This ransomware detection tool is really easy to install and use. It works in the background with minimal impact on system performance. The software tracks and detects ransomware encryption in real-time so you can react immediately. 

The company also claims that the tool can recover hacked files with one click. You can roll back files or the entire hard disk to a pre-attack state. 

Malwarebytes ransomware software has only three buttons: Dashboard, Quarantine, and Exclusion. When the system is active, the dashboard shows you that the system is protected. The exclusion feature is really important, because you can exclude files that you don’t want to be scanned – and thereby avoid false positive results. This ransomware protection is still in development, so it can have some bugs – meaning it can falsely identify some safe apps as threats. In case the software detects apps as false positives, you can press Exclude and move them out of quarantine.

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2. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware

" Best lightweight protection "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • User friendly
  • Still in beta version
  • Occasional false positives

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • User friendly
  • Still in beta version
  • Occasional false positives
  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Malwarebytes provides the best malware protection for all operating systems. It has products for individuals as well as for large enterprises, and the company recently released a ransomware protection product. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware is still undergoing beta testing, but it is already, in its not-quite-final form, one of the best solutions to protect your devices from malicious apps. Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware is a module that comes with Malwarebytes Premium. This package includes antivirus protection that can remove all kinds of viruses and spyware from your computer. It costs $39.99 per year for a single device. Once you have Malwarebytes Premium, you can use Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware for free

Like ZoneAlarm, Malwarebytes ransomware protection works on the basis of behavioral monitoring. The system protects your devices from ransomware apps that can encrypt your files. It detects changes to key files and registers a notification upon identifying suspicious actions. 

Despite the fact that the software was still in beta testing during the preparation of this article, it did a good job of detecting common ransomware like TeslaCrypt, CTB-Locker, and Cryptowall. 

This ransomware detection tool is really easy to install and use. It works in the background with minimal impact on system performance. The software tracks and detects ransomware encryption in real-time so you can react immediately. 

The company also claims that the tool can recover hacked files with one click. You can roll back files or the entire hard disk to a pre-attack state. 

Malwarebytes ransomware software has only three buttons: Dashboard, Quarantine, and Exclusion. When the system is active, the dashboard shows you that the system is protected. The exclusion feature is really important, because you can exclude files that you don’t want to be scanned – and thereby avoid false positive results. This ransomware protection is still in development, so it can have some bugs – meaning it can falsely identify some safe apps as threats. In case the software detects apps as false positives, you can press Exclude and move them out of quarantine.

3. Bitdefender Total Security

" Best malware and ransomware protection overall "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Multiple layers of protection against ransomware
  • Fast scanning
  • Can’t buy ransomware protection as separate app
  • The basic package is only for Windows

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Multiple layers of protection against ransomware
  • Fast scanning
  • Can’t buy ransomware protection as separate app
  • The basic package is only for Windows
  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Looking to protect a MacOS or Android device? Bitdefender comes with excellent malware protection and ransomware tools to suit your needs. Bitdefender is a great company that provides complete internet security and protection products for desktop and mobile devices. Each package comes with ransomware protection, but we recommend Bitdefender Total Security. Not only will that provide you with robust features that can remove almost all spyware, malware, and viruses, but you’ll also get a VPN subscription, anti-phishing protection, and the Bitdefender anti-ransomware tool. With the Total Security product, you can secure up to five devices for $39.99 per year.

When it comes to ransomware security features, Bitdefender has thrown all its resources at the problem. The company has developed an advanced engine that can detect ransomware attacks and prevent them from spreading to other files. This multilayer ransomware removal tool prevents unauthorized access to your apps. 

The Bitdefender ransomware remediation feature automatically stops ransomware encryption and makes backups of your files. As soon as the malicious threat is resolved, you can restore your files. 

Bitdefender anti-ransomware comes with all Bitdefender packages, which means you cannot purchase it separately. 

The installation process of any of the company’s antivirus systems works smoothly and quickly. However, the ransomware remediation tool is not enabled automatically. So after you set up the software, you must turn it on manually. 

To avoid false positive results, you can add apps that you use to the Exceptions list so the scanner will not detect them as threats. One of the reasons Bitdefender is on our list is that it provides excellent Android ransomware protection.

4. Acronis True Image

" Best protection for servers "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 5

Things we liked / disliked:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cryptocurrency mining protection
  • Reduced false positives
  • Expensive
  • Minimum impact on system preferences

Things we liked / disliked:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cryptocurrency mining protection
  • Reduced false positives
  • Expensive
  • Minimum impact on system preferences
  • Number of devices
    Up to 5

Unlike other companies on our list, Acronis primarily provides backup and cloud services, but it also has great internet security products. The Swiss vendor recently released Acronis True Image, which combines full disk-image backup with security features for your devices. 

This package comes with the best free ransomware protection and cryptocurrency blocking tools. However, if you are looking for an all-purpose antivirus security and protection utility that includes ransomware protection, Acronis might not be the best choice for you. 

This is the best ransomware protection for a Windows server. It does a great job of blocking malware and viruses, but you will not get a lot of other tools like parental controls or free VPN. 

The Acronis True Image anti-ransomware tool uses AI technology and machine learning for ransomware detection. You can prevent cyberattacks with the Acronis Active Protection system, which uses behavioral analysis to detect and prevent ransomware’s efforts to lock your files. 

PDF files, documents, images, Excel spreadsheets, and practically everything else you store on your computer can become the target of a cyberattack. This type of malware is extremely dangerous because thieves can prevent access to all your personal data. Even if you pay the ransom, there is a good chance you’ll never see your files again. 

This ransomware protection for servers and home devices saves your data while protecting your network. Its powerful engine can detect almost all types of ransomware

Acronis Active Protection generates two lists – a black list and a white one. The white list includes apps and programs that have permission to make changes and perform file functions. This is how the system reduces false positive results. Based on learned behavior, the Acronis ransomware protection system can successfully detect new threats – which makes it one of the best anti-ransomware protection programs on the market.

5. Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware

" Best for small and mid-size businesses "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 5

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • Password manager
  • Detects and disables ransomware in real-time
  • Can’t decrypt infected files
  • Could have a better user interface

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free version
  • Password manager
  • Detects and disables ransomware in real-time
  • Can’t decrypt infected files
  • Could have a better user interface
  • Number of devices
    Up to 5

Kaspersky has provided internet security services to individuals and businesses for more than 20 years. This vendor has millions of clients around the world who use its products to protect their critical systems from cyberattacks and malware. 

Kaspersky ransomware protection is a powerful tool that can be used with other antivirus software. Kaspersky says its ransomware tool protects files and systems from all types of ransomware, including TeslaCrypt, Petya, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit, and many others. Kaspersky not only offers the best ransomware protection for business, but the home premium package also comes with a ransomware solution.

Kaspersky ransomware protection is free. It protects your devices from ransomware attacks by preventing hackers from accessing your files. However, if you want to be sure your devices are entirely safe from malware, Kaspersky’s paid version is probably a better choice than counting on its free ransomware protection utility. 

Ransomware protection comes with premium packages for individual users and companies. Each package allows you to protect multiple devices. Kaspersky provides great Mac ransomware protection, but it can also protect Android devices. You can install this tool easily and quickly, and it will not use so many resources as to slow down your computer. 

Kaspersky’s ransomware prevention is behavior-based, meaning that it tracks and detects threats before the ransomware encrypts your files. Kaspersky can scan for ransomware and block the threats with speed and precision. 

The tool can’t help you with files that have already been encrypted, however. The system is designed for protection from ransomware, but it cannot decrypt infected files.

6. Avast Premium Security

" Best for stopping malicious attacks "

  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Reliable protection against malware and ransomware
  • Fast scanning
  • Easy to use
  • Can’t recover infected files
  • Runs slowly

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Reliable protection against malware and ransomware
  • Fast scanning
  • Easy to use
  • Can’t recover infected files
  • Runs slowly
  • Number of devices
    Up to 10

The last company on our list is Avast – a top-rated antivirus company with millions of users. Avast publishes a wide range of products that protect valuable data from malware and ransomware threats. 

There are a lot of ways to get your hands on Avast free ransomware decryption tools. For example, in 2017 Avast released an all-new ransomware decryption tool, an intelligent system that uses machine learning to protect users from cyberattacks. However, the best protection comes with the Avast Ransomware Shield. This feature is part of the Avast Premium Security package. It is available for all platforms and it helps you protect multiple devices. 

Ransomware Avast-style means using a powerful engine that protects your personal data, documents, images, videos, and databases from online threats. Ransom attacks can seriously jeopardize your privacy, and even if you pay hackers the ransom they demand, there’s no guarantee that your data will be returned. 

Avast offers arguably the best protection against ransomware because Ransomware Shield scans files automatically. You can decide which folders you want to secure and disable unauthorized access entirely. Of course, you can allow trusted apps to access folders and make changes to your files. 

Avast has a user-friendly interface for managing Shield activity. Avast Shield isn’t enabled by default, so you need to open the Protection tab and activate the Shield option to protect yourself from ransomware.

FAQ

Does antivirus software protect against ransomware?

Antivirus products can save you from malicious software by blocking access to unauthorized apps or unreliable websites. Most antivirus systems detect spyware, viruses, and almost all malware threats and send you popups and alerts to warn you. Antivirus products also come with VPN protection, password manager, and many other security tools.

However, even the best antivirus programs are not sufficiently powerful to protect your devices from ransomware attacks. When purchasing ransomware protection software, you should look at solutions with tools that stop encryption-based malware attacks. Ransomware is not like other viruses. The hackers’ toolkits are constantly evolving, so even the best antivirus programs are not able to detect them and prevent the attacks.

What is the best protection against ransomware?

The best programs for helping you avoid ransomware attacks use behavior-based monitoring so they can detect suspicious action. They can prevent ransomware attacks and even recover encrypted files. Some of them use whitelist technology that prevents unauthorized apps from making changes to files.

Any of the products on our list can help you foil attacks and protect your data. We were very impressed by the ransomware protection from Malwarebytes, even though it is still in beta testing. It’s free if you purchase the company’s Premium antivirus package – that’s our favorite price. In our Acronis ransomware protection review, we noted that the company offers cloud backup services in addition to its great ransomware product. That makes Acronis the perfect choice if you’re looking to protect a server. If you’re looking for the best ransomware removal for Windows 10, on the other hand, you can’t do better than ZoneAlarm.

Does ransomware steal data?

Most ransomware attacks render data unusable, but some hackers grab a copy before encrypting the information. Businesses, governments, and individuals with valuable data are the usual targets for ransomware attacks. But you can be targeted even if you don’t have any information that is of value to anyone else, and you can find your PC locked down and unusable. This is why you should use computer ransomware protection and regularly back up your files. Even the best ransomware removal utility can’t stop every attack, so you should use a comprehensive antivirus program too, just to be on the safe side.

Does Avast protect from ransomware?

Yes. With the Avast Premium Security package, you also get Avast Ransomware Protection. This antivirus program has a ransomware shield that blocks cyberattacks. Currently, this is one of the best ransomware protection utilities on the market. The Avast shield blocks almost all known ransomware variants.