A well known and popular freeware site recently published an article recommending Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware to its many readers. The article not only didn’t properly explain the software but also failed to mention its limitations. It is, in fact, a poorly researched article containing what can only be described as equally poor advice.
The latest free Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware, which was released very recently, protects against 3 ransomware families – Locky, TeslaCrypt, and CTB-Locker. However, considering there are currently more than 50 different known ransomware families, this is far from full protection. Even though the 3 covered by Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware are among the most common, 3 out of a possible 50+ certainly does not represent good odds.
Furthermore, the consensus among experts is that the technique employed by Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware, which fools the ransomware into believing the system is already infected, should not be too difficult to overcome and there is every chance that ransomware developers will soon enough be peddling new variants which are able to defeat the program’s defense mechanism.
What the Experts are Saying
Here are excerpts from several reports discussing Bitdefender’s new anti-ransomware tool:
- The downside is that the tool [Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware] can only fool certain ransomware families and is not guaranteed to work indefinitely. Therefore, it’s best for users to take all the common precautions to prevent infections in the first place and to view the tool only as a last layer of defense that might save them in case everything else fails. <source: PCWorld>
- It should be clear from this that Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware does not protect against all ransomware attacks. Trend Micro lists dozens of ransomware families on its website for instance, and one question that you will have to ask yourself is whether it makes sense to run the program on your machine. <source: gHacks>
- Bitdefender’s newest tool covers more versions of ransomware than before, but it is not an absolute remedy or outright prevention tool, either. Ransomware has been twisting into new shapes in recent times. This means this new anti-ransomware vaccine shouldn’t be considered a long-term solution as more advanced threats may emerge sooner rather than later. <source: Digital Trends>
Some might say that at least this is better than nothing. However, I would argue quite the opposite. My primary concern is that these types of band aid solutions tend to lull users into a false sense of security and perhaps take risks that they would not and should not otherwise take.
The fact of the matter is that none of the currently available free anti-ransomware solutions provide adequate protection. If you want proper ransomware protection, you’ll need to fork out for a reputable premium anti-virus solution or a dedicated premium anti-ransomware program such as WinAntiRansom Plus (which, in my opinion, provides the best overall protection at the best possible value).
What is the Best Free Ransomware Protection
Most of you will no doubt by now be aware of the common advice – keep software up-to-date, don’t click on embedded links, don’t open attachments from unknown or unreliable sources, blah, blah, blah. Of course, all this always has and always will represent extremely sound advice, however, while most ransomware generally requires some sort of user interaction to deliver its payload, that is not always the case. Although not actually preventing ransomware, there is one method for overcoming these infections which is not only free but also nigh on 100% foolproof… backups!!
Personal data backups, system image backups, create them regularly and often. Bear in mind too, now that ransomware is becoming more sophisticated and affecting not only system drives but also connected USB drives and network drives, you should either store your backups on external drives which are largely disconnected (i.e. connected only during the backup process) or encrypt your backups and store in the cloud.
With the advent of the very easy to use and free Aomei Backupper Standard there is no longer any excuse not to backup and, at the same time, you’ll be affording yourself what is undoubtedly the most effective method for overcoming ransomware infections.
Consider the following scenario: your system becomes infected with one of the nasty ransomware variants demanding a [say] $400.00 ransom. But wait, you created a full system backup including all your personal data just a few days ago, before the infection. Within around 20 minutes or so, you’ve restored the image and are up and running again, all files accessible and completely ransomware free. Now consider the same scenario… only this time minus any backups.