How to Test Ransomware Protection

Internet is a vulnerable place, and one small mistake can cost someone a million. I am talking about malicious files, viruses, and ransomware attacks. They are taking the world by storm, especially the big brands. Another day, I came across websites that provide test kits for companies and individuals to test their machines’ weaknesses. Ransomware testing kit reviews ensure users get their hands on the products that do the work.

Let us now see how to test ransomware protection, how you can access it, and how to stimulate an attack.

Testing Ransomware Protection: How Can We Do It And How To Stimulate An Attack

What was not possible a few years back is possible now. Yes, organizations can purchase their ransomware kits and stimulate an attack on their devices and network. I recommend downloading the malware kits from trusted resources or the ones that Antivirus Research Organizations are devising. This is to check the vulnerable endpoints that can become potentially dangerous.

Like, I came across one ransomware testing kit another day devised by European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research. It was EICAR Test Virus, which, when tested on the user’s device, shows a message ‘EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE’ and terminates itself after this. It aims to test the virus in the user’s system and check how the device behaves when the ‘test ransomware’ attack is launched. You can download it from EICAR’s site.

Can You Stimulate A Ransomware Attack?

Is your network effective against ransomware attacks? Are your employees falling prey to social engineering skills? If yes, it is high time to stimulate a ransomware attack. Now, the question arises- can you stimulate a ransomware attack? The simple answer is YES.

The companies can now conduct penetration testing to induce a full-fledged demo attack on their network or devices. A few ransomware testing kits can also bypass the built-in ransomware protection in Windows OS. Penetration testing or Pen Testing must be conducted by professional security experts only. They are trained in ethical hacking and can induce a cyberattack following the ethical structure underlined using various certified tools. It will help detect security lapses in the company’s system and network.

How to Get the Free Ransomware Simulator Tool?

I have encountered this question umpteen times on my website and community forums. It has been put up by many working individuals who cannot access the paid ransomware testing kits. So, here I would like to share the breakthrough discovery. You can download the self-assessment tool provided by US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The Ransomware Readiness Assessment is a desktop tool that guides users through a synchronized process to test their cybersecurity. This is the new tool launched by the US esteemed agency. It helps the agencies know how to defend and recover from ransomware attacks. The best part is this tool can be used in Industrial Control systems and Information Technology to help analyze potential cyberattacks.

Apart from this, the users can quickly download the Ransomware Simulator tool from a website like KnowBe4 that simulates one crypto mining infection and 22 ransomware infections. It will show how vulnerable your system or device is. It works in the following ways:

  • 100% harmless simulation when KnowBe4 is launched on your network.
  • It will not work on the company’s or users’ important files.
  • The tool will help test 23 types of ransomware infections
  • You will get vulnerability results in a few minutes when you download and run the installer.

Does Windows 10 have Built-in Ransomware Protection?

As we are reading about Ransomware Protection, readers need to know that new Windows OS versions have defender security against malicious viruses. Reddit has many members who have asked a similar question: Does Windows 10 have built-in ransomware protection?

Well, if you go through the guidelines provided by Windows Support. It clearly states that Microsoft 365 advanced protection program helps with ransomware detection and recovery. A Controlled Access Folder in Windows 10 and Windows 11 that protects the user’s folder against ransomware and other kinds of malware. The new version of Windows includes built-in ransomware detection and recovery tool in the Microsoft OneDrive. Users can also use the all-new secured, and modern browser, namely Microsoft Edge.

Windows users can use the Controlled Folder Access that helps protect valuable and confidential data from ransomware threats. This Windows defender protects the device by checking the trusted apps that the users download. Windows 10 and 11 are supported on Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022. This Controlled Access can be turned on using the Windows Security App.

Controlled Folder Access in Windows 10 and 11 works best with the Microsoft Defender used for Endpoint access and provides a detailed report on alert investigation events and CFA events. Here’s how it works:

  • Controlled Folder Access includes local folders like pictures, documents, downloads, and many other things.
  • It only works with the trusted Windows apps, and other apps not included in the provided list cannot make any relevant changes.
  • The malicious apps are ultimately deleted from the list. Only the reputed and prevalent Windows apps are added to the list.
  • The users can add the apps to the trusted list manually. Users can also use Microsoft 365 Defender Portal to manage trusted apps. It helps in protecting the Windows System folder by default.

How Do I Access Ransomware Protection?

Until now, you all must be well versed in how to test ransomware protection or simulate an attack by cybercriminals. Now, this question may arise in the mind of many users How do I access Ransomware Protection? Well, I got every one of you covered on this one too.

Accessing the ransomware protection in the Windows 10 and 11 has become easier than in the older versions. Firstly, it has an in-built Windows Defender System, and another it offers Controlled Folder Access. The Ransomware Protection can be accessed in Windows 10 and above by following these steps:

Step 1: Click on the Start menu

Step 2: Type ‘Windows Security’ in the Search Bar. Alternatively, you can access it by clicking on the Settings app and then navigating to Update and Security. After this, click on Windows Security.

Step 3: Now, open Windows Security and click on Virus and Threat Protection.

Step 4: After this step, scroll to find Ransomware Protection. Click on ‘Manage Ransomware Protection’ now.

Step 5: Toggle the Controlled Folder Access ON, and enable it.

Step 6: Now, enable the OneDrive option by logging into it.

After you are done with these steps and configured the Controlled Folder Access, choose any of the malicious apps you want.

Can Antivirus Detect Ransomware?

Ransomware has become a trend in itself, as I have stated before in my articles about Ransomware attacks, its strains, and how fast it works. The question occurs can antivirus detect ransomware? Well, many paid antivirus users have also experienced ransomware attacks.

People need to understand that the antivirus is the software that runs the scan to know if a particular malware or virus has entered your device or network. It scans the whole system code to code that is in its database. Any antivirus can only detect ransomware if the particular strain code types reside in its database. Neither the antivirus users can become vulnerable and prone to attacks.

However, users can detect the ransomware and avoid its attack by checking the emails closely for upper- and lower-case letters. Also, review the tone of the email sent and see if it’s intimidating to any authentic institution, don’t click on doubtful links, and never open zipped files as they are encrypted ransomware folders.

You can consider these antivirus protection alternatives suggested, like Webroot, Zone Alarm, Bitdefender, NeuShield, etc.

Is there any way to Test if Your Network is Protected From Ransomware

This question is also making the rounds on some community sites. Most companies are now aware of the ransomware threats, so they do regular backups, patch tests, and strengthen their network by not allowing a few websites access and personal devices connection to the organization’s network.

In this scenario, conducting a dummy test may not help you find vulnerabilities. Still, the companies or individuals can select some local folders on their systems and induce the dummy ransomware attack through those folders. It will help you acknowledge whether the overall network is strong or still there are a few vulnerabilities. It will help pat the whole system again and save the devices connected to one network from any potential threat.

Organizations and individual users can always use KnowBe4 Ransomware Simulator or the assessment tool provided by US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. These things can help launch a dummy attack and safeguard from threats. Make sure to always offer security training to employees.

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