Best Anti-Ransomware 2023: TOP 5 Defenders Against Ransomware
Ransomware isn't the most subtle type of malware. If you've been caught out, you'll know fairly soon since a program will open telling you to pay up or risk permanently losing access to your data. Alternatively known as crypto- or extortion Trojans, ransomware locks your files or even system, only 'releasing' its digital hostages after you've paid a hefty ransom.
In this article, we'll show you how to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Every year, ransomware causes billions of dollars in damages worldwide, easily making it the greatest malware threat to both individuals and businesses. Like most other kinds of malware, ransomware conceals itself on your computer either in executable programs or corrupted files.
Prevention is the best defense, and that starts with you, the individual user. If you think twice about opening email attachments from people you don't know and regularly update your operating system and programs, you're already ahead of the game and better off than those who don't.
Best Anti-Ransomware: Our TOP 5
For even more security, most antivirus suites come with integrated anti-ransomware features. We assessed 16 of the leading antivirus programs and without further ado, present what we determined to be the five best in defending against ransomware.
Bitdefender came first in our evaluation since the program does pretty much everything right when it comes to Internet security, and all without any fuss or shortcomings. It serves as an excellent digital bodyguard, which is confirmed by the independent testing labs we consulted, has a sleek and customizable user interface, and offers bags of features to boot.
Alongside more extravagant extras like a VPN and password manager, the software also provides multi-level protection against ransomware. For example, you'll receive a notification whenever it determines that an attempt was made to encrypt your files. Bitdefender also creates automatic backups of your data and removes ransomware from your system as soon as it's identified.
Bitdefender guards your system against online threats, including ransomware.
Thanks to Bitdefender Free, you can get basic protection against ransomware at no cost, however, for the multi-level security we've discussed above, you'll have to reach for your wallet.
Excellent user interface with customizable quick actions
Flawless testing lab results
Good support featuring a 24/7 live chat
With its Internet Security antivirus suite, Kaspersky manages to pack a wide range of features into a user-friendly interface. We particularly liked the ability to customize scans and schedule them well ahead of time.
So far as real-time protection is concerned, we also couldn't find many weaknesses, with added security offered for payments (something, for example, missing from Norton). Beyond that, depending on your subscription, you'll also have access to extras such as parental controls, backups, a VPN, and a password manager.
Ransomware protection is included in all packages.
Kaspersky helps to avoid the dangers posed by ransomware.
No free version of Kaspersky's antivirus suite is offered, however, it is possible to download a free anti-ransomware tool ⇱ from the Russian developer.
Quick to set up; easy to use
Provides plenty of features in a tidy package
Good security scores from both testing labs
Avast Antivirus is one of the most powerful antivirus programs on the market, packing a wide selection of features into an intuitive user interface. The software's Sandbox is a real highlight, making it possible to open questionable apps or files in a completely secure environment, from where they're unable to harm your system.
Avast's robust security, backed up by high scores from the independent testing labs we consulted, also shows in how it combats ransomware. In addition to basic protection, you can add extra security to selected files. Beyond that, Avast offers some decryption tools ⇱ for thwarting well-known variants of the Cryptolocker virus.
Avast Antivirus makes sure that your system isn't susceptible to ransomware.
Avast Antivirus offers one of the best free antivirus programs out there, and includes all ransomware shields and tools.
Powerful free version
Loaded with features
Intuitive to use
Norton's antivirus suite also performed very well with the testing labs we consulted, offering excellent security. We found its user interface to be both elegant and intuitive since it conveniently makes all features accessible. Additionally, its live chat support is deserving of high praise.
Like Bitdefender, Norton 360 also includes a VPN and a password manager, however, its catalog of features is less extensive than that of its Romanian rival. Anti-theft measures are nowhere to be found, and access to a file shredder requires payment of an additional fee, even for premium subscribers.
Norton does provide most of the features that we look for, however: Alongside Web, webcam, and email protection, there's also real-time monitoring and of course, anti-ransomware capabilities.
Norton offers anti-ransomware capabilities across all of its subscription packages.
Ransomware protection is included in each of Norton's subscription packages, however, the provider doesn't offer a free version of its software, unlike Bitdefender.
Elegant and intuitive user interface
Provides excellent, testing lab-confirmed security
Trend Micro Anti-Ransomware
Trend Micro packages strong, testing lab-verified antivirus protection in a user interface that is one of the most user-friendly we've crossed paths with. Apart from that, the Japanese developer offers excellent support, providing a number of means for getting in touch.
The software also protects against ransomware, promising to identify it early and quickly restore encrypted folders or files. Using the integrated Folder Shield, you can specify which areas of your system should receive additional security. Should it already be too late for prevention, you can take advantage of Trend Micro's Crypto-Ransomware File Decryptor Tool, which might help in decrypting your files.
You can apply additional security to specific files and folders with Trend Micro.
All Trend Micro subscriptions include protection against ransomware, however, the developer doesn't offer a free version of their software.
Intuitive user interface
Independent testing lab-verified security and performance
Comes with plenty of features
Alongside our Top 5 are a number of antivirus programs that afford protection against ransomware. Since ransomware is one of the biggest online threats confronting both individuals and organizations, all 16 programs offer some sort of counter-measures:
How We Tested
In choosing our Top 5 we focused on our overall ranking of the best antivirus programs as well as their specific anti-ransomware capabilities. Our ranking is based on extensive reviews of all 16 providers from our sample, which in turn, is a reflection of the scores we awarded in the following four categories:
Installation & Usage
How long did it take to install the software? Is a free version available? If so, does it require the input of a payment method to download/use? How much time does it take to get used to the app? Is it easy to navigate? We answered all of these questions and more at the outset of each review, going through the installation and setup process step by step.
Our 'best in show', Bitdefender, shined in this category: Not only is its dashboard elegant and logically arranged into different topical areas, but users can also add or remove quick actions from the home screen at will, making the program their own.
When it comes to intuitive design in antivirus software, Bitdefender is the gold standard.
All antivirus software should come with a few standard basics, such as scans and real-time protection against malware. However, even among the standards, there can be a considerable amount of contrast, such as the ability to customize scans or how thorough the real-time protection is. In this category, we looked at each program's core features, as well as what else they offer, from password managers to parental controls. In concluding this section, we also examined each provider's mobile app.
Security & Performance
We don't evaluate each program's security, since others can do that much better than us, namely, the two independent testing labs we trust, AV-Test ⇱ and AV-Comparatives ⇱. These regularly and thoroughly assess nearly all well-known antivirus solutions awarding scores in both security and performance. How effective software is at protecting against ransomware figures prominently in its security score.
Some users are DIY types, others prefer to ask professionals. As such, antivirus developers should cater to both, by providing a comprehensive help center loaded with tutorials, FAQs, step-by-step guides, and other content for the first group, while also offering multiple and easy-to-find means for getting in touch with their support staff for the second. At the very least, this should include an email/support ticket, and ideally, a live chat and/or hotline.
Kaspersky combines a well-stocked help center with multiple channels for reaching out to the developer's support staff.
Do you want to learn more about how we assessed each individual provider? You can read full reviews, as well as a longer explanation of our evaluation methodology in our comprehensive guide to antivirus software.
Unfortunately, ransomware looks here to stay. Digital extortion will continue, and according to experts, likely grow, owing to both the ease at which susceptible users can be found as well as the practice's lucrativeness. For that reason, it's more important than ever to protect yourself against ransomware attacks. Browsing or surfing behavior, how often you install updates for your operating system and software, and your tendency to open emails from people you don't know all play an important role in making you either more or less prone to cyber extortion viruses.
To protect yourself even further, look no further than antivirus software, particularly since the real-time protection features accompanying modern programs specifically monitor against ransomware. The best programs that EXPERTE.com's evaluation found were Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avast, Norton 360, and Trend Micro. But don't take our word for it: You can check all of our reviews for yourself in our ranking of antivirus software.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files, folders, or even entire systems, demanding a monetary payoff from their owner for the decryption key. The first ransomware attacks date back to the 1980s, however, today, these nefarious attacks are responsible for billions of dollars in damage.
As is the case with all types of malware: Exercise caution. Concretely, this means regularly updating software and your operating system, not opening emails or downloading attachments from people you don't know, and frequently creating external backups, for example, on the cloud. Beyond that, you can bolster your digital defense with a solid antivirus program, since nearly all of these come equipped with anti-ransomware tools.
Typically, antivirus programs combine a number of different processes and tools to offer comprehensive protection against ransomware. Threats, often highly complex, are identified at multiple levels and blocked, with security gaps, such as missing patches, outdated software, or configuration errors recognized and rectified. Most antivirus suites also offer users the ability to add extra layers of security to specific files or folders.
Antivirus programs offer a range of different decryption tools that you can use to attempt to restore files that have been encrypted against your will. Should you have a recent Windows backup, you can also simply reload it. One thing is certain though: Don't ever pay the ransom. In our guide to combating ransomware, you can find out everything else you need to know to remove this type of malware.