This might come as a surprise for most but antivirus does not stop ransomware. Thousands of people are affected by this cyberattack type every year. The main signs include an inability to access critical files and you will have to pay some cybercriminal to access your data.
This is one of the most annoying and terrifying incidents that one can go through. It means being separated from memories captured through text, images, and videos. You could also be losing some of your most important and lucrative data.
However, as we mentioned, antivirus does not stop ransomware but more on that below:
How is Ransomware Delivered?
Ransomware delivery happens in a number of different methods. However, the most common way is through email and website hijacking. Hackers use files to infiltrate these channels and easily hide from virus scanners. That’s because the virus itself is encrypted. This makes it really difficult for scanners to view and disable the code within.
There are lots of Dark Web platforms where you can access tools to hide your code. This includes delivery systems and Fully UnDetectable (FUD) tools. Cryptex Reborn is an example of a FUD tool which is available for $90 on the dark web. Hackers use it to protect their malware so that it’s undetectable to scanners.
In fact, two malware developers were recently arrested after selling illegal software for malware developers. However, since this technology is so new, there’s no regulation to legally prohibit anyone from owning FUD tools. Regular people like you and me can purchase and use them as well as a defense against cyber-attacks.
With that said, it’s illegal for one to use FUD tools for the purpose of holding others’ information hostage in exchange for ransom.
Attention: Read before you continue
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What Happens After the Ransomware Goes Through the Virus Scanner?
Once hackers wrap their ransomware in encryption, it becomes possible for them to hide from software-based virus scanners. Anyone can easily download ransomware by clicking on the wrong email attachment or website banner. Once that happens, the ransomware downloads itself into your device and starts installing.
That’s why ransomware developers are always looking for ways to transform the code behind their files. Sometimes even several times a day in order to escape detection.
For instance, you have the Angler exploit kit which was notorious for its ability to completely hide from antivirus software. It spread across 90,000 websites around the world. The presence of this ransomware proves that antivirus does not stop ransomware.
Your antivirus software’s parent company should recognize the threat, analyze its behavior and generate some immunity against the code. Then, you’ll be able to pick up on this inoculation so that you can download and update your antivirus to fight the threat. This will take a bit of time so you should be patient.
However, by the time you update your antivirus with the new code, the ransomware code will have transformed hundreds of times already. This renders the anti-virus scanner incapable of identifying its new form. Again, antivirus does not stop ransomware and it’s not enough to protect you from such attacks.
Now that we’ve established that antivirus does not stop ransomware, what else can you do about the problem? The simple answer is; don’t open emails that look suspicious. If it doesn’t feel right, that’s probably your gut warning you about impending danger. Also, refrain from downloading random files online and don’t click on everything that looks shiny and enticing.
However, the best long-term solution would be to apply a comprehensive and multi-layered security protocol. The first aspect of this protocol would have to be firewalls that can protect you from a number of cyber threats. Look out for firewalls that incorporate Unified Threat Management (UTM) specifically. It should also contain the Zero Day anti-viral immunity cycle.
Do you have any experience with ransomware and other cyberthreats? Let us know how you’ve dealt with them in the comments below.