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Ransomware just became a global pandemic. Only Acronis has the vaccine

The massive worldwide wave of ransomware attacks instantly turned a once relatively obscure malware threat into screaming headline news and an urgent security concern for global leaders.

The so-called WannaCry variant of ransomware, weaponised into deadly virulence with an exploit stolen from the USA's National Security Agency, exploded through 100+ countries, bringing down hospitals in the UK and telecoms operations in Spain. Reports are streaming in of infections in South Africa.

So, how best to protect your data?

"To defend against ransomware, Acronis has long advocated the use of data protection," says Peter French, MD of local Acronis distributor, Synapsys Systems. "If you keep your files backed up with diversity of storage media and locations, you can quickly restore a ransomware-encrypted computer to its pre-infection state. You might lose a few hours' or days' worth of work, but you won't have to pay the ransom."

James Slaby, Senior Manager of Global Campaigns at Acronis, has written a series of informative articles on how users can inoculate their systems against ransomware, repel an attack, and recover from an infection.

"If the threat of ransomware wasn't on your radar yesterday, it is today," says Slaby on 13 May. "And if you are scrambling for answers, Acronis already offers the single best defence against ransomware attacks, including WannaCry: Acronis Backup 12 Advanced with Active Protection, which proactively exterminates ransomware and automatically, instantly restores any damaged data."

WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in Server Message Block (Microsoft's file-sharing protocol) that was only recently discovered, and thus many businesses had not yet patched. That vulnerability, combined with a weapons-grade worm developed by the NSA and exposed in the recent ShadowBrokers leak, enabled WannaCry to multiply and spread with astonishing speed, carving a path of destruction around the world in under 24 hours.

Acronis Active Protection

According to Slaby: "Acronis also self-protects its backup copies, which ransomware commonly targets in order to sabotage restoral efforts. Earlier this year, Acronis went a critical step further, introducing Active Protection to our data protection solutions.

"This unique, patented technology uses heuristic analysis and machine learning to intelligently detect and block a ransomware attack, then instantly restores any data that was encrypted. In other words, it actively identifies the suspicious file activities common to all ransomware attacks and immediately terminates the offending processes. Local caching enables it to restore the handful of files that were encrypted before the attack was detected and extinguished.

"As important, Acronis Active Protection detects and vanquishes attacks based on zero-day exploits (vulnerabilities whose existence is largely unknown) that evade signature-based defences like anti-virus.

Acronis Active Protection technology blocks ransomware and recovers encrypted files.

Acronis Active Protection technology blocks ransomware and recovers encrypted files.

"Acronis recommends that you take all of these steps," Slaby says. "But if you want to feel truly secure that your business data is safe from ransomware extortionists – even against attacks with the breathtakingly lethal refinement of WannaCry – you have only one foolproof solution. You need tightly integrated active and passive data protection that stops ransomware in its tracks (even variants using zero-day exploits), automatically repairs ransomware-damaged files, and protects your backup copies from destruction: Acronis Backup 12 Advanced with Active Protection.

* Acronis Backup 12 Advanced with Active Protection becomes available from Synapsys and worldwide on 31 May 2017.

Editorial contacts

Synapsys Systems
Peter French
Managing Director
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