Ransomware is a type of malware that is made by unethical cybercriminals to encrypt your data and demand a ransom in cryptocurrency. You shouldn’t be confused and think it is similar to a normal virus or malware; a ransomware attack is efficient at stopping the work of a well-productive company.
On May 7, 2021, Colonial Pipeline, an American oil pipeline system that originates in Houston, Texas, suffered a ransomware cyberattack that impacted Colonial Pipeline Company and forced it to stop all pipeline operations.
When we think of preventing ransomware on our operating system, the first thing that comes to mind is antivirus software, which is very popular for removing viruses, but is it feasible? Is it possible to secure our data from ransomware attacks? Or should we take some additional preventive steps to make our data safe from cyber threats and data breaches?
In this article, we will discuss the extent to which antivirus software can protect our data and how to prevent ransomware attacks.
Antivirus Software and Ransomware
Antivirus software is designed to detect, prevent, and remove various forms of malware. These programs detect viruses and malware through signature technologies to recognize malicious threats, such as a byte sequence in network traffic or known malicious instruction sequences used by families of malware.
When it comes to less sophisticated types of ransomware, like signature-based ransomware, antivirus software can indeed be effective in detecting attacks by identifying and separating them before any damage is done.
But to evade detection by antivirus software, methods of ransomware attack and encryption of the data are continually changing by cybercriminals. They create new, more advanced strains of ransomware that can easily pass through signature-based detection methods in antivirus software. As a result, depending only on antivirus software may not protect against all ransomware threats.
Limitations of Antivirus Software
To successfully attack and seize your system, there are many ways used by cybercriminals to easily trick your antivirus software Some of them are:
1. Zero-Day Vulnerabilities: This type of attack involves exploiting loopholes or flaws in the software. Ransomware attackers often take advantage of these flaws in antivirus software to attack the system.
2. Polymorphic attack: This type of ransomware attack regularly changes the code content and its structure through the decryption key to make it impossible to detect it by the signature-based detection of antivirus software.
3. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS): The rise of ransomware-as-a-service platforms allows cybercriminals with limited technical skills to launch ransomware attacks. These attacks may not follow previous patterns, making them less predictable for antivirus software.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attack?
While antivirus software is important for your cybersecurity strategy, it should not be your only option for defending against ransomware or other malware attacks. To enhance your cybersecurity protection, consider the following measures:
1. Regular Software Updates: Keep your operating system, software, and applications up to date to patch vulnerabilities that ransomware attackers might exploit.
2. Be up-to-date: Be up-to-date about ransomware threats and phishing attacks. Many ransomware attacks originate from suspicious emails or malicious links. Be aware of this and keep yourself safe.
3. Keep Backup: Regularly back up your data to offline or secure cloud storage. This ensures that even if you fall victim to ransomware, you can restore your files without paying the ransom.
4. Network Security: Apply network security measures, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to monitor and block suspicious network activity.
In conclusion, to strengthen your defenses against ransomware, adopt a multi-layered cybersecurity strategy that includes regular updates, data backups, and network security measures. By combining these efforts with antivirus protection, you will minimize the chances of a ransomware attack and better protect your data from the threat of ransomware.