Ransomware and cryptominers – these comparatively new threats have popped up on everyone’s radar over the past two years. They’ve swept through the tech world with such force that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of WannaCry, Petya, or how your PC might mine cryptocurrency for someone else’s profit.
A quick summary of the two biggest threats
Ransomware has targeted hundreds of thousands of private citizens and thousands of smaller and bigger companies. It infects computers, locking away content from owners all while promising to give them the key once they’ve paid the ransom (a promise that’s not kept most of the time, by the way).
The damage from such attacks in 2017 alone is put at $5 billion, according to Cybersecurity Ventures – with cybercriminals now having learned just how lucrative this business model actually is. This means that 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, plus the fact that they can actually be created on a PC, cybercriminals found a very easy way to generate money: By abducting the processing power of their victim’s computer.
Cryptominers can infect almost every system and are often distributed through malicious online ads. Victims normally don’t know they’ve been hit, as the malware tries to mine away as silently as possible. The only giveaway that something is amiss is the system performance: The computer will slow down significantly.
Don’t panic – defend yourself
If all of those threats are that well known, how do they still get on their victims’ PCs? That’s a tough one 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 solution is not all that useful – only seeing the error of their ways once 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 scored “Best+++” award in all three tests.
While the developers at Avira are doing everything they can to make sure you’re safe, it’s your job to let them help you – so, don’t wait until it’s too late to install an antivirus program.