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.
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.
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.
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.