Ransomware Protection: How To Test It

I have been talking lately about Ransomware a lot because it has become a new risk and trend in the cybersecurity world. A survey states that 2 out of 3 organizations in 2021 have already been hit by Ransomware. It is no joke, as Ransomware attack potentialities are increasing by 29% year-over-year. Most organizations are still working and struggling to prevent these attacks in the first place. These attacks have drastically hit financial institutions, supply chain companies, managed IT services providers, and much more. To avert these attacks, you must possess robust Ransomware protection for the company.

In this detailed guide, I will discuss Ransomware protection, how one can test it, and whether you can detect this deadly malware via antivirus. So, let’s get started.

What Is Ransomware Protection?

Ransomware takes companies’ digital hostage by encrypting their computers. It locks the data of the organization network as soon as the files enter the systems. The chances of infection increase when the device first detected for Ransomware isn’t quarantined or unplugged from the whole LAN or WAN network. To stop these security vulnerabilities, protection against Ransomware is a must. I recommend running a vulnerability scan by Kaspersky security software to identify the vulnerable endpoint devices. 

So, if you are looking for an answer, what is Ransomware protection? Then, the following points will help you with Ransomware protection.

  • Never Open Suspicious Emails: Phishing emails are the number one factor that leads to a Ransomware attack. If you feel the email is not from trusted sources, verify it quickly with your cybersecurity department. They will easily remove the email, and the computers in the whole network can be saved.
  • Update the Operating System: Regular updates will keep you at peace and ease. Perform the updates with the latest security patches. It will make it hard for cybercriminals to exploit any system vulnerability.
  • Endpoint Protection: The next-generation antivirus protects the system devices from fileless and zero-day malware whose signatures cannot be found in your system. Most antiviruses are designed to protect against the computer’s endpoint.
  • Never Visit Unsafe Websites: I recommend visiting websites that start with ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP’. The ‘HTTPS’ sites are secured and locked, and the licensed antivirus in your device will always block suspicious websites. So, do not try to surpass or open them.
  • Use Secure VPN Services: Public Wi-Fi becomes a serious threat if you are using transferring financial documents, confidential files, or carrying out any money transaction. If you have to use it, use a secure VPN service only.

How to Test Ransomware Protection?

Now, you know how to protect your system against Ransomware and its related strains. Prevention is Better than Cure, as we say. Does the question now arise of how to test Ransomware protection? US-based companies and individual users can run a Ransomware Readiness Assessment, an advanced tool devised by US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. It will help detect how protective is a particular malware tool against a specific type of Ransomware. Reputed agencies provide a few kits to test the strains of Ransomware. You can run a dummy test always.

These Ransomware kits allow you to launch a dummy attack using one of the files to check if the present malware protection is great against the strain or not. Along with this assessment tool, you can always use penetration testers to test the consequences of the Ransomware attack. It helps you test the defenses that are thought to be quite strong and must be remediated before it’s too late. They will testify about the vulnerabilities in the underlying infrastructure of the companies and testify them to the organization’s cybersecurity department. It will help in discovering security flaws and treating them at the right time.

Can Windows 10 Defender Detect Ransomware?

Microsoft 365 Defender works as the protective layer against sophisticated attacks launched by hackers. It is a type of unified pre-, and post-breach enterprise suite that helps with detection, prevention, investigation, and an integrated approach can be followed against the endpoint protection and the emails. The integrated Microsoft 365 Defender solution in the new Windows Operating System stitches the threat signals together. It lets the cybersecurity department work on the impact of the threats.

This Windows 10 defender will also help identify security risks and prevent harmful activities. If there are any advanced threats, the defender detects and uses the Azure Active Directory to identify, detect, and investigate the advanced threats and provide well-knit solutions. Moreover, you get Microsoft 365 Defender for the Cloud Apps, which provides comprehensive solutions using cross-SaaS that helps with strong data controls, enhanced threat protection, and deep visibility. I hope this clarifies your question: Can Windows 10 Defender detect Ransomware or not? So, the answer is loud and clear YES.

Can You Simulate A Ransomware Attack?

Most organizations talk about their employees falling prey to Ransomware attacks. Many community forums have this question repeatedly asked- can you simulate a Ransomware attack? The answer is YES. 

If you want to check whether your system and the whole network are secured against social engineering tactics or not, then you can use Ransomware Simulator by KnowBe4. This RanSim will simulate 22 Ransomware infections and one crypto mining infection to launch a crypto Ransomware attack and screen locker Ransomware attack. Now, here’s how it works:

  • Get the KnowBe4 RanSim kit to launch the 100% harmless but simulated Ransomware and crypto mining attack.
  • Never use your confidential data files, but use the dummy files for this attack.
  • It will help launch 23 types of Ransomware infections to testify to the Ransomware protection in your device.
  • You have to download KnowBe4 and run the installer on your computer.
  • It provides you results in a few minutes after successfully running it.

This simulator tool will help detect vulnerabilities in your device or the network. You can fix them timely to avert any big threat that can cause you a loss of money and reputation.

How do I Know if I have Ransomware?

We have been talking about Ransomware attacks and how cybercriminals launch them. But how do I know if I have Ransomware? It is the biggest question that still hovers over my mind and yours. Well, it can arrive as an email attachment, a pop-up ad, or a fake website that is too lucrative to click. Now, as you use any of these, you can catch Ransomware on your device. 

The impact of Ransomware is so severe that it can lock every last file present on your device, and the ransom needs to be paid to unlock those files. Most organizations or users do not get the decryption key if the ransom is even paid. Often, the attack launched is disguised as a notice from the US Cybersecurity Agency that charges you a penalty for clicking on pornographic or abusive links. Here, users may not have performed all these actions, but the threats are curated so that the person is forced to click on provided links. It can ask you to deposit a small fee, or it needs to pay if the organization has cryptocurrency. 

There are a few warning signs user needs to be aware of when identifying a Ransomware attack:

  • The suspicious email attachment looks quite trustworthy.
  • Using of active directory access to gain access to your company’s domain
  • Hackers may try to infiltrate your systems by using the network scanners.
  • Many software removal programs like GMER and Process Hacker can cause antivirus removal from your system.
  • If there is a presence of MimiKatz in your system, it can steal the system’s credentials and is always a red flag.
  • The hackers launch small test attacks to check out the vulnerabilities in your device and network. It will then give rise to a full-fledged attack.

Can antivirus detect Ransomware?

Let me be very true here when talking about a Ransomware attack, and only a strong anti-malware tool can prevent this type of cyber-attack. Many of you have put up the questions on the community forum can antivirus detect ransomware? Yes, to a certain extent. Most antivirus software like Avast, McAfee, etc., are meant to detect a few strains of Ransomware and avert the data from getting encrypted. 

Most antivirus software has spam filters that prevent users from getting threats and malicious emails. You can also get these antiviruses for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. The users can run the scan for any malicious files now and then to keep their system secure. It is advisable to use security patches to update the OS systems and secure them fully.

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