For the last four years, ransomware has evolved into one of the biggest threats to cyber security that Iíve seen in a long time. Names like CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, and CTBLocker keep average computer users and IT security Jedis alike up at night. For good reason: Ransomware is cunning, effective, and proliferating, and the cyber security industry hasnít really had an answer for it.
But weíve got one now.
Ransomware is easy to understand but hard to beat. It infects the machine, encrypts all files and then demands payment to get the files back. Ransomware works so well that most variants will even remove themselves when the damage is done, knowing you have the choice of either paying the ransomware author to get your files back, or risk losing them forever.
The ransomware we see today is so sophisticated that the advanced encryption it uses makes it impossible to get your files back without paying the ransom. Even using backup systems isnít an effective countermeasure because ransomware would actively look for different types of backup systems and encrypt them, too.
Most of todayís security software simply cannot protect you from ransomware. Ransomware does not act like traditional malware: some are automatically updated every day, and even use polymorphic (shapeshifting!) code to evade detection. This makes it exceedingly hard to detect.
This is the type of challenge we love. When ransomware hit the headlines, we immediately started looking for a long-term answer.