Ransomware, cryptominers, and the right protection software
Ransomware and cryptominers – these more or less new threats have made it on everyone’s radar fast over the last two years. They have swept over the tech world so thoroughly that there is almost no one who has not heard of WannaCry, Petya, or how your PC might mine cryptocurrency for other people’s profit.
A quick summary of the two biggest threads
Ransomware has targeted hundreds of thousands of private citizens and thousands of smaller and bigger companies. It infects computers and locks away its contents from their owners all the while promising to give them the key once a ransom has been paid (a promise that is not fulfilled most of the time, by the way).
The damage from those attacks in 2017 alone is estimated to be $5 billion, according to Cybersecurity Ventures and cybercriminals have learned just how lucrative this business model actually is. That means: Ransomware is here to stay and we have to learn how to deal with it.
With the increasing value of and therefore interest in cryptocurrencies and the fact that they can actually be created on a PC, cybercriminals found a very easy way to gain money: By abducting the processing power of their victim’s computers.
Cryptominers can infect almost every system and are often distributed through malicious online ads. Victims normally don’t know they have been hit since the malware tries to mine away as silently as possible. The only sign they get that something is amiss is the system performance: The computer will slow down significally.
Don’t panic – defend yourself
If all of those threats are that well known, how do they still get on the PCs of their victims? It’s a question that’s hard to answer – but it most likely has to do with a lack of defensive software. After all quite a few people think that defensive software like an antivirus is not all that useful and only see the error of their ways after it’s too late.
AVLab.pl, an antivirus testing organization from Poland has taken the time to figure out which software really protects from the above threats. They threw 43 unique ransomware threats and 35 cryptocurrency miners in 3 tests against 26 antivirus products (sometimes the business/pro and free version of the same vendor). Avira Antivirus aced them all and managed to get the “Best+++” award on all three tests.
While the developers at Avira are doing everything they can to make sure you are safe, it’s you job to let them help you: Don’t wait to install an antivirus program until it’s too late.