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Free anti ransomware software

Free anti-ransomware software

If you are unlucky enough to fall victim to ransomware attack, your first instinct might be to reach for your wallet to save your files, but it's better to stay calm and look for an alternative solution. Many of the big names in PC security provides tools that will release your PC from ransomware and don’t charge for the privilege. There are also dedicated tools to prevent programs that behaves like known ransomware from running on your PC at all.

Before you get started, it's useful to recognize that there are two main types of ransomware: the kind that encrypts your files and threatens to delete them unless you pay a fee (like WannaCry), and the kind that locks you out completely by preventing you reaching your desktop. Thankfully, there are free tools to combat both types.

If you haven't yet fallen victim to a ransomware attack and want to protect your PC proactively, consider a dedicated prevention tool like ZoneAlarm Anti Ransomeware, which uses behavioral analysis to identify processes that act like ransomware – even if it's not yet a specific known threat – and automatically backs up your files if it detects anything.

Avast The solutions designed to defeat different strains of ransomware

Step-by-step guidance

Tackles 21 forms of ransomware

Frequently updated

Not all ransomware encrypts data in the same way, so security software providers have to create specific solutions as new threats emerge. The security experts at Avast have developed Free Ransomware Decryption Tools to tackle 21 different strains of file-locking ransomware.

To help you work out which one you need, Avast has provided a detailed description of

How each form of ransomware works

What extension you will see on the encrypted files

Some example of the type of messages, the virus creators have prepared for their victims. 

Once you have downloaded the appropriate tool, it will guide you through the process of wiping out the ransomware without paying the criminals. You will only need to provide two versions of the same file:

An encrypted one

The original.

This will be much easier if you prepare a backup file before the infection.But Avast also suggests locations where you might be able to find unaffected original files. The tool will then compare the two and use the results to determine the password.

Trend Micro  A single download that can defeat 27 breeds of ransomware.

All tools provided in one download

Regular updates

Decryption may be incomplete

The Trend Micro Ransomware File Decryptor is updated regularly with new ransomware definitions, and at the time of writing it can release files locked by 27 different types of ransomware and their variants.

Unlike Avast, Trend Micro bundles all its decryption tools into one bundle, but you still need to direct it that what form of ransomware is it dealing with. Trend Micro’s site provides information to help you identify your particular infection, plus contact details for its technical support department if you are not sure.

Once that’ is done, provide a sample file for the Decryptor to analyze, and it will get to work. Decryption can take anything from a couple of minutes to several hours, depending on the type of encryption used.

Trend Micro Screen Unlocker Tools  Release a locked PC, even if you can't access Safe Mode

Can run outside Windows

Regular updates

Does not decrypt files

There are two Trend Micro Ransomware Screen Unlocker Tools – one for PCs that are locked so you can’t log into Normal Mode, but you can also access Safe Mode with Networking through the BIOS menu, and another for situations where both mode are blocked.

The first of these can be downloaded directly on the affected PC in Safe Mode with Networking. Once it is installed, reboot the PC into Normal Mode and tap [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[T]+[I] to scan for ransomware and remove it.

The other version of the tool must be downloaded using an uninfected computer and saved to a USB stick. You can then use to boot the locked machine. Once initiated, the unlocker will perform a scan, and remove any ransomware it detects, releasing your PC.

Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware A malware vaccination that runs alongside your antivirus software

Protects from known threats

No behavioral analysis

Doesn't decrypt files

There are lots of superb free antivirus programs around, but not all offer dedicated protection against ransomware. If you are concerned about the risk, Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware is a handy supplemental security tool that runs alongside your usual security software to protect against some of the most common forms of ransomware and their offshoots.

Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware currently protects against VTB-Locker, Locky, Petya and TeslaCrypt, and starts defending your PC from these threats immediately. However, it is only a preventative measure; if your computer has already been infected with one of these malicious programs, you will need to use one of the tools mentioned above instead.

If you currently use Bitdefender Antivirus, the Anti-Ransomware module is already installed.

Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool Comprehensive ransomware protection for your small business

Proactive ransomware protection

Can undo malicious actions

Monitors network activity

Ransomware on your home computer is bad enough, but an infection that locks you out of your business PCs could be an absolute disaster. Your accounts, customer data, client information and work could all be encrypted – and it could affect multiple machines on the same network. 

Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool for Business is designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) protect their data from such a catastrophe. Like Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware, it’s a preventative tool designed to prevent infection in the first place rather than decrypt files or unlock your desktop.

Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool runs happily alongside your regular security suite, monitoring network activity for anything that matches known ransomware behavior. Its threat database is stored on Kaspersky’s cloud servers, so updates are pushed out to all users immediately