Ransomware is one of the most insidious realities of the world wide web. For decades, the risk of having your data held ransom was generally relegated to surfing the darker edges of the internet where websites are ripe with viruses and pop-up adds. This is no longer the case. Rather than placing their malicious codes on untrusted websites, many hackers are targeting trusted websites by hacking servers. They send emails with links to websites that appear to be like sites you regularly visit. In other words, even the most pious web surfers among us are at risk of having their data held ransom.
Depending on the source, the ransomware industry makes anywhere from hundreds of millions to over a billion dollars a year by extorting money from unsuspecting victims and businesses. The ransoms range from a few hundred dollars to over $10,000. To make matters worse, according to an article by Dan Turkel from the Business Insider, even the best antivirus software isn’t great at stopping ransomware. In fact, Turkel states that ransomware attacks are so malicious and difficult to counter that even the FBI suggested as recently as 2015 that you should simply pay the ransom, though they have walked those comments back since then.
So how do you combat a billion-dollar industry?
Well, Acronis might have the answer. With Acronis True Image 2017’s latest update to its cloud backup app, it added an antiransomware feature called Acronis Active Protection. The feature uses a behavioral heuristic detection approach to combat ransomware. These behavioral heuristics are accompanied by whitelist and blacklists of various programs that allow the service to detect new threats while simultaneously providing experiential and behavioral results to control false positives. This is a significant shift in data security in the online backup industry.
When your computer is attacked, the ransomware is recognized as a threat and added to the blacklist so that it’s blocked when you reboot your computer. This protects against lockscreen ransomware. Any files that were encrypted before the ransomware was blocked are replaced by the identical, unencrypted file from the cloud. Your data is protected, and the feature works automatically.
Below is a diagram that illustrates the process:
While nearly every cloud backup service provides some level of protection against hackers, none protect against ransomware except for Acronis True Image. Acronis Active Protection launched in early 2017, so it’s a first-generation antiransomware feature that has had little time to prove itself as a significant breakthrough against the ransomware industry. Will this mark a significant shift in the security features offered by online backup services? If you value your data and your wallet, you better hope so.