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Special Edition
Computer security testing comment and analysis from SE Labs

Ransomware Protection Tested

Red screens means red faces. Prevent, don’t pay!

Ransomware Protection Tested

Ransomware is causing all the rage right now. That’s why we’ve tested products that offer protection from ransomware.

It’s the type of threat that gets attention because a successful attack is extremely visible (the attacker needs you to know it’s worked, or you won’t pay!) Also, there is a direct and substantial cost attached to it. In addition to paying security specialists to help, there’s a fat ransom demand sitting on your screen.

Ransomware isn’t subtle

While much hacking is subtle, stealing information silently, ransomware is in your face. It stops businesses in their tracks. It gets the attention of the finance directors. It provides powerful ammunition to security teams arguing for more resources. And, of course, it makes headlines.

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Ransomware attacks used to be splashed around automatically. Anyone could be unlucky enough to click on the wrong link and face a red screen asking for a Bitcoin. And these ‘commodity’, untargeted ransomware attacks still exist. Some of the threats used in the making of this report are just such attacks.

Wide-spread and targeted ransomware attacks

Annual Report 2021

That said, ransomware attackers want lots of money and minimum hassle.

Why waste time helping hundreds of clueless computer users buy a piece of cryptocurrency, when you can focus on large companies that have the ability and cash to buy and transfer lots of virtual coins? For this reason we have included ransomware attacks in the targeted attack part of this report, too.

Some products provide anti-ransomware protection, in the form of special detection techniques. However, the good news is that you don’t have to rely on new technology to prevent this threat. A ‘ransomware attack’ isn’t a special kind of hacking.

Nearly all cyber attacks follow a similar process known as an attack chain. Products that can detect and neutralise early stages of this attack will protect you from hacking attacks, regardless of the ultimate intent: to run ransomware; steal passwords; or download sensitive files.

There is more than ransomware protection tested in this report. We’ve included plenty of other common and more subtle attacks in this test.

We are publishing more on this subject in our 2021 annual report, due out in November. For now, please read on to see how different anti-malware products handle ransomware and lots of other types of threats.

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SE Labs Ltd is a private, independently-owned and run testing company that assesses security products and services. The main laboratory is located in Wimbledon, South London. It has excellent local and international travel connections. The lab is open for prearranged client visits.

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