Personal Backup Software Self-Protection Test (January 2017)

With the increasing distribution of ransomware, it’s very important not only to back up all data, but to recognize the importance of protecting the backup files themselves—after all, the backups themselves could be erased by ransomware. Therefore, modern personal backup software must possess self-protection functions. This is especially important for personal products, because home users don’t usually have organized backup systems like large corporations and even small businesses do.

With these concerns in mind, we decided to test the self-defense capabilities of popular personal backup software. We used the methodology that had been already proven in antivirus testing.

In this test we examine the self-protection capabilities of personal backup and recovery software against possible malware or ransomware attacks. This was the first time we tested this class of software. In the test described below, we analyzed the self-protection capabilities of backup software that run under Windows 7 x86. 

Testing Methodology »
Tests Analysis and Awards »


Personal Backup Software Self-Protection Test
Overall Test Results and Awards



We tested the seven most popular personal backup and recovery products in their most recent versions issued by the date of the test (December 20, 2017) for Windows 7 x86. The list included:

  1. Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation
  2. Carbonite Home 6.2.16804
  3. CrashPlan Free
  4. EaseUS ToDo Backup Free build 20161212
  5. iDrive
  6. Macrium Reflect Home Edition 6.3 build 1665
  7. NovaBackup PC 18.5 build 926

This is the first time Anti-Malware Test Lab analyzed the self-protection capabilities of personal backup solutions that run under Windows 7 x86. In the test described below, self-protection from the following types of attacks was analyzed with local admin privileges:

  1. Modification/removal of modules.
  2. Modification/deletion of important registry keys.
  3. Process termination.
  4. Modification of processes/code.
  5. Backup data protection in the cloud
  6. Data recovery from the cloud.

Each of the 35 parameters assessed in the self-protection performance test was analyzed completely in line with the described testing methodology.


Personal Backup Software Self-Protection Test

In the test we assessed the personal backup software self-protection capabilities in 35 test cases. (For more information on each test case, please refer to the detailed test results in Excel file attached to this post.)

Let's have a quick look at the awards system we use:

1 point (+) is awarded if the self-protection system successfully blocked one attack from the list (It is not allowed to lose any processes but retain, or automatically restore, the main functionality).

0.5 point (or +/-) is awarded if the product does not include complete self-protection from a specific type of attack.

And finally, if the product lacks self-protection from a specific type of attack and its main functionality was disabled, it was not awarded any points at all. Thus the maximum possible number of points in the test is 33.

Table 1 represents the number of points gained by each product according to the number of blocked and successful attacks its self-protection system dealt with.


Table 1: Number of blocked attacks and successful attacks. Total points for products running under Windows 7 x86

Tested product Number of blocked attacks Number of successful attacks, lack of self-protection
(0 points)
Total score
(maximum 35 points)
Number of attacks completely blocked 
(1 point)
Number of attacks partially blocked
(0.5 points)
Acronis 28 2 5 29
Carbonite 9 2 23 10
CrashPlan 8 0 27 8
EaseUS 11 0 22 11
iDrive 7 0 28 7
Macrium 10 0 23 10
NovaBackup 9 0 26 9


Image 1: Backup Software Self-Protection Test Results under Windows 7 x86

Antivirus Self-Protection  Test Results under Windows 7 x64


According to the test results, only 1 out of  7 tested products stepped over the threshold of 80% and  3 out of 7 tested products stepped over the threshold of 25%.


Overall Test Results and Awards

Table 2: Overall Backup Software Self-Protection Test Results and Awards

Tested product Award Total score
(maximum 35)
Percentage (compared to maximum)

Gold Self-Protection Award

Gold Self-Protection Award

29 83%

Bronze Self-Protection Award

Bronze Self-Protection Award

11 28%
Carbonite 10 26%
Macrium 10 26%
NovaBackup Test Failed 9 23%
CrashPlan 8 21%


7 18%


Table 2 clearly shows that under Windows 7 x86, Acronis won. It was the only one shown to have 80% or more self-protection performance. This product is the only one to get the highest Gold Self-Protection Award.

EaseUS, Carbonite and Macrium demonstrated 26% to 28% of ideal performance. These three personal backup products got the Bronze Self-Protection Award.

NovaBackup, CrashPlan and iDrive failed the test and demonstrated that they are virtually incapable of blocking possible attacks by malicious programs or ransomware.

Download detailed results in Excel for each product to have a complete view of the test and make sure the total scores were calculated correctly.

Ilya Rabinovich, Expert at Anti-Malware Test Lab:

"Threats are always evolving towards malware authors’ dreams of big money. Currently, the biggest malware-related problem for the end-users is ransomware, which encrypts important files on the computers and demands ransom to give that data back. Taking this into account, backup software, which traditionally is a tool that protects users from hard drive crashes, becomes the ultimate solution against harmful manipulation of user's data and allows restoring important files after an attack. These threats mean that backup solutions and backup data become a new vector for malicious cyber attacks. That's why it's so important for a backup solution to have self-protection abilities, as well as abilities to protect user's backups wherever they are.”

Ilya Shabanov, Managing Partner at Anti-Malware Test Lab:

"We have been going to adapt our classic self-protection antivirus test for testing products from other market segments. But at the time it was inexpedient. With appearance of ransomware families we changed our minds. Since conventional security products do not protect users from ransomware, we focused on previously undervalued personal backup software. We believe this type of security software very soon will be an important element. Our test of the personal backup software showed that their self-defense is far from ideal. Only one of the seven products tested by us, namely Acronis True Image, was able to demonstrate a good result. We are confident that in the future the quality of self-defense in this class of products will continue to grow."

Nikolay Grebennikov, VP Engineering at Acronis:

"With Acronis True Image 2017 New Generation we focused on management and data protection: what users expect from our solution. And self-defense is an important part of data protection, because cyber criminals can simply attack the agent on the machine to compromise data, including data stored in the cloud. We have worked hard in order to protect user data, regardless of where you store backup files, and we are pleased with the results of the test conducted by, which confirm our leadership and commitment to current and future threats in this segment."