Anti-Ransomware feature on Windows 10

About a week ago, Windows 10 received its latest update – the Fall Creators Update, and with it, various improvements and new features were introduced to the public such as, for example, an anti-cheat system for video games created for Win 10. You can read the official description of this this new utility here. However, what we deem particularly important in terms of what has been added to Microsoft’s newest OS is an option called Controlled Folder Access.

The gist of this feature is to restrict the access to certain folders chosen by the user so that they stay protected against malicious programs such as Ransomware. The idea is that once the Controlled Folder access is enabled for a certain folder, a Ransomware virus wouldn’t be able to gain access to the insides of the said folder and would thus be unable to encrypt its contents.

All application access will be restricted

If you enable the Control Folder Access for a certain folder, all software on your PC will be blocked from gaining access to the contents of the folder and editing/modifying the files that are in it. This is the default setting and if you want to allow certain program to access the protected folder/s, you will need to manually whitelist the said app. Otherwise, only you will be able to open the folder and create, delete or modify files inside it.

Hopefully, when enabled, such a precaution should stop any Ransomware infections that try to encrypt your valuable files making the inaccessible to you in order to later blackmail you for a money payment. There is no doubt that Ransomware is currently one of the worst possible malware threats out there – it is sneaky and oftentimes is let undetected by a lot of otherwise reliable antivirus programs. This is why, better security measures need to be taken by users so as to ensure that their files stay protected against this type of noxious viruses. However, obviously, the Controlled Folder Access will only help you if you have previously enabled it for the folders that contain your most important data. Otherwise, this feature wouldn’t stop anything if you have forgotten or chosen to not to implement it. Therefore, we highly advise those of our readers who are using Windows 10 to make use of the Controlled Folder Access utility to secure any folders that they might have where valuable files are contained. Down below, we will show you exactly how to utilize this new feature so you don’t have an excuse for not making use of it.

How to enable Controlled Folder Access

Step 1: Open your Windows 10 Start Menu and type Windows Defender Security Center. Click on the first of the search results.

Step 2: Select Virus and threat protection from the left and then click on the Virus and threat protection settings option.

Step 3: Scroll down until you reach a section labeled Controlled folder access. There, use the toggle on/off button to enable the feature.

Step 4: Now you will need to select the folders that you want to have protected. Click on Protected Folders and then on Add a protected folder – choose the folders that you want to protect and add them to the list.

Step 5: Lastly, you can select applications that would be whitelisted – this means that those apps would be given access to the protected folder and would be allowed to create, delete or modify files that are in it. To whitelist apps, select the Allow an app through Controlled folder access option from the Controlled folder access section and add the programs that you want to be whitelisted.

Step 6 (Optional): There is a quicker way to enable/disable the Controlled folder access using a PowerShell command. Open the Start Menu and type powershell. Click on the first result – a command line should open. In it, copy-paste this line: Set-MpPreference -EnableControlledFolderAccess Enabled and hit Enter to execute it – this will enable Controlled Folder Access. If you want to disable it, simply change the argument from the command above from Enabled to Disabled.

You are your computer’s best protection

Developers and security experts are doing their best to come up with new ways to protect users’ computers from dangerous programs such as Ransomware viruses. However, one needs to remember that there’s hardly a better and more effective way to protect your PC and data than being responsible on the Internet and using your common sense every time you open your browser. Because of this, we highly advise you to always make sure that you do not do anything that could potentially expose your system to unnecessary risk. Remember that no matter how advanced an antivirus program or a security feature is, the will still not be perfect and there would more than likely be a virus out there that would be able to go past them. Therefore, it is always better to simply ensure that you computer doesn’t get into situation where it is at risk of getting attacked by some malicious and harmful piece of software.