AppCheck Anti-Ransomware review
AppCheck Anti-Ransomware by Checkmal is a complementary security solution for devices running Windows designed specifically to protect the device it is running on against ransomware attacks and exploits.
Ransomware attacks come in many different forms but the bulk of them holds files on the local system ransom by encrypting them. Affected users are asked to pay a specific sum, usually in Bitcoin, to purchase the encryption password that allows them to decrypt the data.
While you may get the encryption key when you pay, there is no guarantee that this is indeed the case.
Users and administrators can protect data in several ways; regular external backups are a must, as is the use of common sense to avoid the bulk of attacks. Anti-Ransomware software runs side by side with other security solutions, usually.
AppCheck Anti-Ransomware by Korean developer Checkmal is another program that you can run on your Windows systems to protect it against forms of ransomware and exploits. The program is fully compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system, and available as a free and pro version.
The free version is good for home use, the pro version may be used in corporate environments as well. Good news is: the core features, that is ransomware protection and exploit protection, are supported by both versions.
Program installation is straightforward; you get to select the installation directory but that is about it as no other options are provided. You can run the program right after installation to launch the control interface.
AppCheck Anti-Ransomware works automatically after installation but you may want to check out the interface and settings on first start to make sure everything is configured correctly.
The main interface displays toggles to turn protective features on or off. Three protections are enabled in the free version, real-time protection, exploit protection, and MBR protection are enabled but network drive protection is not. The latter is one of the Pro version features that the free version lacks.
A click on the cogwheel icon in the interface opens the program options. The options are divided into tabs for easier access. Here is a quick overview of the preferences of the program:
- General: disable anonymous submission of files for analysis and auto-update.
- RansomÂ Guard:Â change ransomware protection and detection functionality, e.g. for how long important files are kept in the "Ransom Shelter", a safe space to protect files.
- Exploit Guard: toggle the feature and select which applications it should protect (web browsers, plugins, media players)
- Cleaner: customize the built-in cleaner functionality
- Auto Backup: is a Pro feature. May be used to create automatic backups of selected folders.
- Whitelist: exclude files so that they may be run on the system.
The developer states that AppCheck Anti-Ransomware protects against more than 900 different types of ransomware using the built-in behavior engine.
The program monitors the system while running and reacts to threats it identifies immediately.
YouTube user Cruelsister ran some tests in April 2017 and AppCheck Anti-Ransomware did well in the test. While the program did not protect 100% against any ransomware thrown at the system it was running on, it did protect against many.
The user's result was that AppCheck offered good but not perfect protection against the tested ransomware threats.
A user on the Tweakbytes forum ran tests as well against different types of ransomware and concluded that he considered AppCheck Anti-Ransomware to be a "must have" as it protected against the bulk of threats.
For me, AppCheck Anti-Ransomware is a must have, even in the free version, which is available for personal use, paying not even a penny. It will dramatically improve your level of security, against the ever-evolving amount of ransomware being brought up every day.
I ran custom tests on a test machine using RanSim and other ransomware files, and results were quite good even in the free version. The free version lacks several features that improve protection further.
Pro users get access to network drive, SMB server, and removable drive protection features, Office exploit protection, and automatic remediation and backup features.
The program uses a surprisingly low amount of memory while it is running on the system. While it does use multiple processes, all of the application's processes use less than 10 Megabytes of memory while it runs in the background.
Update: We took another look at the program in 2019. The developer improved it since our initial review in 2018. Protection has improved with additional signatures added to the detection database. The program works just like before for the most part though.
AppCheck Anti-Ransomware is a powerful yet lightweight program designed to protect Windows devices against ransomware attacks and exploits. While not perfect, it does a good job at protecting the system against threats; the developers push out new versions of the program frequently to add safeguards against new ransomware threats and exploits.
Now You: Do you use anti-ransomware software?