Do I need anti-ransomware software on my PC?

Kaspersky Chrome extension desktop
Kaspersky Chrome extension desktop (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Best answer: Many people should look into getting anti-ransomware software. The extra layer of security can keep their computers secure. Still, there are also a lot of people that will be just fine without it thanks to safer browsing habits and keeping software up to date.

Prevention is key

Ransomware is software that demands payment in order to remove it from your PC. WannaCry, for example, encrypts most of the files on your drive and demands a payment in Bitcoin to decrypt. Attempting to bypass or remove the software more often than not results in the destruction of your files. Your best bet is to make sure it never gets installed in the first place.

Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central)

Most of these risks can be found early — if you're attempting to visit a risky site, you can receive a warning. Even if a file manages to get on your hard drive, realtime protection can neutralize potential issues before they can become a problem. Kaspersky's database is kept up to date on your PC so it can find threats quickly and accurately.

For example, if you fall for a fake email and navigate to a page that hosts a bad file download, Kaspersky can stop the connection before you even load the site and give you a warning. Even so, if you bring the file in from another source, such as a USB flash drive, Kaspersky will delete it or quarantine the file before it can do any damage.

Whether ransomware gets on your PC through an exploit or if it's disguised as another program, it can be devastating to be faced with losing all of the data on your PC. Many security suites are able to look out for these files or suspicious actions.

While many people will be able to use their computers for years without issue, having an extra layer of security can be a great value, especially if you don't have a backup.

What else can you do?

Fully relying on a PC to keep important information is a bad move. There are many things that can damage a computer besides ransomware, so it pays to make sure you're backed up. Most modern operating systems offer cloud backup or even local backup with an external hard drive. Restoring a PC from a decently fast hard drive can often be done in under an hour. Knowing that you haven't lost everything if your computer stops working is worth the time and money in the end.

Samuel Contreras

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.