Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your files (or blocks access to them) and threatens to wipe them or publish them online until the ransom is paid. It was not a trending thing a few years back (though it was still dangerous). However, now, even the novice virus writers have access to powerful and effective ransomware-making tools and code.
If more people know how to create them, there are more chances of ransomware attacks. For the same reason, WannaCry caused a lot of chaos. In this article, we will look at a few methods by which you can try to remove or prevent ransomware, without paying.
Backup Your Files & Ensure Privacy
People tend to pay the ransom because they fear of losing their important files and documents. So, why not just have a backup? According to what you prefer, you can perform a cloud backup or clone your files to an external storage drive.
In case you need to store some very important documents, I will recommend you to have a copy of it on a secure cloud storage drive (like Google Drive & Dropbox). The reason – when you plug in your external storage drive, it might become a victim to the ransomware as well.
If there’s a lot of stuff to backup, you should utilize a backup tool like AOMEI Backupper. It is probably the best you can find out there. Keep in mind that a “copy” is great, but is not a real backup. Backups should keep multiple version of the same file, in case a corruption goes unseen for days or weeks.
Try An Antivirus Solution Tailored For Ransomware Protection
If you want to have the best security on board, you should focus on getting one of the best AV software tools meant to provide the best defense against ransomware attacks.
You would want something that has behavior-based detection ability, could prevent file modification, and prevent file access. All things considered, we would recommend you to try IObit Malware fighter PRO, Bitdefender Antivirus (Total Security / Antivirus Plus), Avira Free Antivirus, or the Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta (which seems promising but still for testing purposes).
If Affected, Remove the Ransomware!
Yes, you can remove the ransomware without even paying a penny. It might not be the case for every type of ransomware but for most of the cases, you can try removing it.
Even if you have successfully removed the ransomware, there is always a risk to lose the files. So, make sure you have a backup always (it helps no matter what!).
The most common way to remove the ransomware is by performing a system restore in Windows. If that does not work, you can utilize the rescue CD from Bitdefender (running virus scanner from a bootable drive).
Hire A Security Researcher
It is not technically a solution! But, if nothing works and you are working in a big production environment, experimenting on your own could cost you a lot!
So, better hire a security researcher who would be able to decrypt the files (if encrypted) and rescue your PC from the ransomware without paying the ransom. To be fair, it would be extremely tough to decrypt data, because encryption is designed exactly to prevent the smartest people in the world to decrypt something (in a short time) unless they have the key. It is possible to force your way in , but it usually requires time and computing power only available to governments.
In a nutshell, it is indeed possible to recover your system from a ransomware attack without paying. However, you need to ensure the best practices for backing up your system and maintaining the perfect security possible from your end.
If you are a user with a system backup and a great security setup, there are fewer chances of your system getting affected by a ransomware in the first place. Updating the operating system frequently is also one of the best way to prevent Ransomware because high-profile cases often show that old vulnerabilities are exploited.
Have you been affected by a ransomware? Is yes, how did you rescue your files? Did you pay the ransom?