New layer of security added in response to growing threat.

Ask any kind of cybersecurity tech expert and they will tell you pretty much the same thing: ransomware is now the top threat facing businesses. According to data collected throughout 2016, both the numbers of infections and the dollar amounts of the ransoms are on the rise. In fact, a South Korean tech firm just made internet security history by paying the highest ever ransomware amount to unlock its customers’ computers, bankrupting the company’s founders after the original amount was negotiated down to $1 million US.

Why are ransomware attacks increasing every day? Because they work.

Ransomware has quickly become one of the biggest online threats, and since so few people properly back up their PCs, encrypting and holding data hostage can be startlingly effective for those who intend to benefit from your vulnerability.

Ransomware Shield walls off key files and folders, protecting them from unauthorized changes.

 

Hardest hit

Let’s take the example of one of the hardest hit US industries, the medical field: there’s a lot to lose in this kind of attack. Medical facilities have been effectively crippled when their networks are locked down, meaning patient care comes to a standstill. The lawsuits stemming from that are burdensome enough, but the mind-blowing fines associated with the breach of hundreds or even thousands of patients’ medical records would be enough to close the doors for good.

In other industries, the dollar amounts might be smaller but the effect is still the same. Pay up if you want to keep your business operational, and therefore meeting your payroll amount next week.

Better tools to combat ransomware

As more and more AV mainstays realize the severity of the situation, better tools have begun to emerge. Avast, long known for its anti-virus suite of protective tools, has announced its Ransomware Shield feature, available now with its Avast Internet Security and Avast Premier titles.

Walls to defend

Unlike the cumbersome capability of simply blocking any and all perceived threats, Ransomware Shield instead walls off key files and folders, protecting them from unauthorized changes. It also halts any attempt to unencrypt your files, protecting them from prying eyes. While this might sound pretty comprehensive, much like a “one size fits all” attempt to blocking something that even behaves like ransomware, it’s actually an app-by-app choice for the user.

Biggest online threat

According to the developer, “Our latest new feature, Ransomware Shield, protects your most precious files from being altered or modified without your permission. Ransomware has quickly become one of the biggest online threats, and since so few people properly back up their PCs, encrypting and holding data hostage can be startlingly effective for those who intend to benefit from your vulnerability.”

Users looking for a “set it and forget it” option might be disappointed, though. There’s a certain amount of time investment required in walling off the correct files without simply clogging up your entire network.

“Any untrusted application trying to change or delete any files in these protected folders will be stopped, as would any encryption attempts by ransomware attacks. However, to avoid slowing down the system, Ransomware Shield only protects specific, designated folders. Therefore, it’s important for users to indicate which folders need extra protection, so they can be put under Ransomware Shield’s care.”

Of course, you can download your copy of the latest Avast security software for free, right here on FileHippo.