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Cybereason releases free solution to detect ransomware

By Steve Bittenbender
Editor, Government Security News

Christmas came early for people worried about their online vulnerabilities as a leading cybersecurity firm launched a free solution Monday designed to block ransomware.

According to officials at Cybereason, RansomFree is the only solution designed to stop more than 99 percent of intrusive software from encrypting files. In a ransomware attack, an infected computer has its data encrypted by an intruder, who typically accesses the computer through phishing emails. The encryption prohibits the computer’s owner or user from accessing any files on it until they pay the intruder.

“Ransomware is the biggest cyber threat, causing significant financial and productivity losses to individuals and businesses,” said Lior Div, the co-founder and CEO of Cybereason. “Cybereason’s mission is to put an end to cybercrime. And in order to put an end to one of the most profitable cyber operations of the recent years - ransomware - we have to make it unprofitable for the criminals. That’s why we are launching RansomFree: free, easy-to-install ransomware protection software, available for download for every individual and business that lacks the budget and skills to fight back.”

Users can download the software at: https://ransomfree.cybereason.com/. While it’s free for anyone to use, company officials designed the software for public-sector agencies, such as police or other municipal departments and small businesses. It’s available for computers running Windows 7, 8 and 10 as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2010 R2.

While such cybercrimes as hacking and denial-of-service attacks drew more attention in 2016, ransomware attacks have become the fastest-growing threat, according to the FBI. This year, on average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have taken place daily. Last year, the average was about 1,000 attacks a day.

Ransomware attacks can infect home users, companies and even government networks. The FBI noted that the attack can be a double whammy as often the link directing the victim to pay the ransom contains additional malware.

“Pervasive ransomware variants such as Cerber, CryptoLocker, CryptoWall and Winlocker have outsmarted traditional endpoint defenses, such as antivirus software, leaving organizations exposed to the real danger of file loss,” said Uri Sternfeld, a senior researcher at Cybereason. “The vast majority of individuals, small businesses and other organizations threatened by ransomware attacks have little recourse but to either pay the ransom or lose their files and valuable time and money recovering files from backups.”

Besides using software that can scan for attacks, the FBI encourages government agencies and companies to tell their workers to not open links or attachment on any suspicious email they receive. Organizations also should set up firewalls that block IP addresses tied to distributing ransomware and other malicious content.

“Prevention is the most effective defense against ransomware and it is critical to take precautions for protection,” the FBI said in an advisory document for chief information security officers. “Infections can be devastating to an individual or organization, and recovery may be a difficult process requiring the services of a reputable data recovery specialist.”

Cybereason, established by members of the Israeli intelligence agency’s cybersecurity unit, uses big data and analytics to identify attacks happening in real time, including sophisticated attacks designed to sneak past normal detection systems. Headquartered in Boston, Cybereason also has offices in London, Tel Aviv and Tokyo.


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