Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bitdefender Says New Tool Uses 'Trickery' To Prevent Some Ransomware Infections

With ransomware infections making big headlines these days security researchers are looking at new ways to keep the malicious software from taking over users machines. Unfortunately, in this cat and mouse game the bad guys have seemingly been wining the war! All that may soon change as security researchers test new inventive ways to actually vaccinate machines from possible infections.

Antivirus firm Bitdefender is one such company that has been taking a new approach as to how it handles ransomware. They have just released a free tool that the company says can prevent computers from being infected with some of the most widespread file-encrypting ransomware programs: Locky, TeslaCrypt and CTB-Locker.

The new Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware vaccine is an update of sorts to a piece if software that the company designed to prevent CryptoWall infections. As with the previous tool this new 'vaccine' works by taking advantage of a very specific feature commonly used in several piece of ransomware. Those malicious pieces of software actually check to make sure the machine they are trying to attack haven't previously been infected. Bitdefender's Anti-Ransomware vaccine uses those checks against the ransomware by making it appear as if computers are already infected with current variants of Locky, TeslaCrypt or CTB-Locker. This prevents those programs from infecting them again.

Bitdefender has stated that in its current form the tool can only fool certain ransomware families and is not guaranteed to work as protection against those indefinitely. Therefore, it's best for users to take all the common precautions to prevent infections in the first place and to view the tool only as a last layer of defense that might save them in case everything else fails.

"While extremely effective, the anti-ransomware vaccine was designed as a complementary layer of defense for end-users who don’t run a security solution or who would like to complement their security solution with an anti-ransomware feature," said Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst at Bitdefender.

The new tool is available for download on the Bitdefender website.

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