Arm yourself with Avast’s newest, best defense against the current, growing ransomware menace.
No, it’s not a new season of Mr. Robot: this is real life. Unidentified cybercriminals recently launched a malware attack that made global news. The so-called “Petna” ransomware started in the Ukraine and spread rapidly, peaking around June 27, after which online security experts were able to neutralize and contain the threat.
Ransomware’s on the rise
The Petna worm was by no means unique, however, nor was it the worst of its kind. Petna was simply the most recent ransomware attack to hit the news. Two months ago, a much larger attack, WannaCry, was blocked by Avast more than 1 million times in more than 150 countries worldwide. The unfortunate truth is that there quite likely will continue to be such attacks, and they’re likely to affect even more people and businesses, costing even more money, doing even more damage.
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent online threats you can encounter. In fact, 60% of all malware released during the first 3 months of this year was ransomware. And more than 4 times as many ransomware variants exist this year than last.
Once ransomware infects your system, it identifies your most important, confidential files and encrypts them, effectively locking them up and holding them for ransom, until you pay to get the decryption key. Being a ransomware victim is particularly humiliating and frightening, and even if you jump through attackers’ hoops, there’s no guarantee your ransomed files will even ultimately be released to you.
How can online security protect you from ransomware?
Avast offers free antivirus products that already protect against ransomware and against other types of malware. Behavior Shield, part of Avast 2017, is built-in protection that monitors all running processes, keeping alert for any file that acts abnormally. If a file seems suspicious, Behavior Shield will shut it down and quarantine it for further analysis.
At Avast, we stop more than a billion malware attacks every month, and we collect and analyze data from our more than 400 million users’ devices by employing next-gen artificial intelligence and machine learning. This vast, rapid-reaction network helps us identify and foil ransomware quickly.
Avast keeps up with the bad guys
Because extra insurance is necessary to combat ever-evolving online threats, we wanted to create a secure complement to Behavior Shield. That’s why we developed Ransomware Shield, now available as part of our premium products Avast Internet Security and Avast Premier.
Ransomware Shield provides an added layer of protection by “walling off” most of your folders, as well as any specific folders you wish to select, for instance tax records or family photos. Any untrusted application that attempts to change, delete, or encrypt these folders will be stopped. Your personally identifying information, pictures and videos, and confidential records will remain free from harm, safely protected by a ransomware-proof shield. What’s yours, stays yours.
Ransomware Shield lets you exercise total control over your files, if you like, adjusting which folders you want to protect, as needed. Ransomware Shield also automatically forces any suspicious application to get your permission before it modifies your protected files in any way. And we use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learningto automatically build the list of allowed (“white-listed”) apps, constantly analyzing incoming information to learn to identify which are okay, which aren’t.
While ransom amounts vary by criminal, the average Bitcoin payment charged by ransomware has been equivalent to about $300 – an amount you’ll likely be throwing away, since the criminals have no real incentive to actually release your files to you, in the end. Choose not to become a statistic. Don’t pay, but, more important, take measures to prevent yourself from falling victim to ransomware in the first place. That you you can keep your files and your money. Join the more than 400 million Avast users and help us continue winning the war against cybercrime.
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