The FBI has predicted that financial losses caused by ransomware will reach $1 billion by the end of 2016, making it one of the most profitable pieces of malware to date. Research by Bitdefender has revealed that half of ransomware victims end up paying the fees, as few have backup solutions or security software that can detect and prevent ransomware infections.

Windows, Android, and even Apple's macOS, have been targeted, proving that, as long as a device holds valuable data, it can and will be hit with ransomware.

In light of this proliferation, Bitdefender has started developing new technologies that are specifically designed to not only stop ransomware from reaching users but also to identify new and unknown ransomware samples and families using advanced machine-learning algorithms.

 Advanced Heuristics for Detecting Ransomware Behaviour

Since signature-based detections have become ineffective against ransomware and other advanced malware, behaviour-based detection and heuristics can make a world of difference when identifying malicious behaviour triggered by unknown applications. Bitdefender’s ATC (Advanced Threat Control) is capable of monitoring processes throughout their entire execution lifetime, and stopping them whenever they exhibit malicious behaviour in their execution.

While the technology has been available for years, the new anti-ransomware heuristics added to ATC have improved detection against new or unknown ransomware samples. More than that, this new level of security doesn't impact performance or usability in any way.

Machine Learning Nailing Ransomware

Whenever the term 'Machine Learning' is used, the common belief is that a single algorithm does all the scanning and analysis. In fact, there are usually a lot more of these machine-learning algorithms, each trained to detect a specific type of malware, ransomware or threat. Training and constant fine-tuning of these algorithms takes skill and know-how, especially if you want them to be as accurate as possible when identifying malware.

Although we’ve been using machine learning for close to a decade, in light of the new ransomware proliferation we’ve developed and trained new algorithms that can accurately identify ransomware or ransomware families, even from new or unknown samples.

One major advantage of this technology is that it can go through large amounts of data and extract patterns to spot other similar threats. However, human intervention is still required, especially in making adjustments and improvements to maintain the current 99.99 percent accuracy rate in spotting new threats.

This merger of human and machine is vital in dealing with the large number of ransomware samples facing the internet, and in correctly tagging polymorphic ransomware that can change its 'shape' from one victim to another.

 Anti-Ransomware Protection Module

While having two ransomware-fighting technologies significantly reduces the chances of infection, it’s also considered good practice to increase the cost of attack for both malware and cybercriminals. To that end, we’ve added an extra layer of protection, designed to protect critical user-selected files from being encrypted in case a ransomware infection manages to bypass all current anti-ransomware defences.

The Anti-Ransomware module included in Bitdefender Multi-Device allows users to select a folder containing critical files to protect them from encryption by any type of malware. Even in case of infection, the selected folder protected by Bitdefender’s Anti-Ransomware module will never become affected by the ransomware encryption.

Staying Proactive

Because ransomware is a constantly evolving threat, anti-ransomware technologies must be constantly updated or new ones developed. To that end, users also need to start being proactive and deploy as many protection mechanism and ransomware mitigation practices as possible to minimise the chances of an infection.

Bitdefender’s Multi-Device can protect much more than just Windows machines. It also secures Android devices and macOS systems. Having platform-agnostic technologies that can be applied on any operating system guarantees not only the same level of protection but also the same performance and usability. To take advantage of anti-ransomware protection, check out the new Bitdefender 2017 line of products, here.

This article has been bought to you in association with BitDefender

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