Windows 10 comes with its own built-in antivirus solution called Windows Defender and is enabled by default when setting up a new PC. At the very least, this provides you with basic protection against the many malware threats that exist in nature. But did you know that there is an optional layer added that can protect your images, videos, work documents, and other files in the event of a ransomware infection? Warning: You must manually enable ransomware protection in Windows 10.
Or more specifically, a feature called "Controlled access to the folder. "
A great hat tip for Forbes to point it out, because it wasn’t something I knew existed. To enable it, type "ransomware protection" in the Windows search bar or go to Settings> Update and Security, click Open Windows Security, click Virus and Threat Protection, and scroll down. and click Manage ransomware protection.
The controlled folder access button is set to "off" by default (or at least on my PC). When enabled, specific folders are designated that are only allowed to access trusted applications, and you can add folders beyond those selected by default. There is also a section to grant permission to specific applications to access protected folders, if necessary.
Ransomware is one of the largest and fastest growing malware threats, with a massive 62% increase in attacks in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to data cited in SonicWall Cyber Threat Report 2021. According to the report, "the effects of a global pandemic, combined with record highs in the price of cryptocurrency" drove ransomware to new heights and shows no signs of slowing down.
There were more than 304 million ransomware attacks last year. Not everyone successfully extorted money from the victims, but they agreed Attention, a ransomware remediation service, the average ransomware payment grew to more than $ 220,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.
Of course, these are mainly companies that dedicate this type of money to attackers who hold their data hostage. Small businesses, in particular, are disproportionately targeted, but ransomware facilitators also go after people.
As for ransomware protection in Windows 10, it actually works. The PC security channel on YouTube posted a video several weeks ago showing the mechanism in action. After installing a "deadly ransomware" problem on a test system, the access to controlled folders function prevented the designated folders from being altered, while the unprotected folders ended up being encrypted.
Therefore, Windows 10 can add a layer of protection to specific folders, if you wish. You will also need to routinely back up your important data and, as always, follow smart computer habits (such as not clicking on unsolicited email links) to include the odds in your favor.
We tried it ourselves and it prevented us from running a game: FIFA 21. This is because, by default, the My Documents folder is protected. However, this is easy enough to move around. When you click the "Add a allowed app" button, there's an option to see which ones have been recently blocked for quick and easy access. You can also remove My Documents from the list of protected folders.