Ransomware is everywhere nowadays, and it's been nearly impossible to stop it. Microsoft thinks it may have the answer, and has therefore added a new feature to Windows Defender in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that is designed to stop the growing form of malware from snagging more victims.
The feature called Controlled Folder Access prevents programs from making any change to files or folders that are set as protected. By default that includes Windows system folders, Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites, and Desktop folders for each user.
SEE: Cybersecurity spotlight: The ransomware battle (Tech Pro Research)
Exclusions for certain apps can be made, folders can be added, and Controlled Folder Access can be toggled on and off by taking the following steps.
- Open Windows Defender Security Center.
- Click on the Virus & Threat Protection menu item.
- Under that option click on Virus & Threat Protection Settings.
- Scroll down to the fourth item in the list that pops up: Controlled Folder Access. Toggle the button to On.
- Say yes to the popup window.
- Once it's on, the options to select folders and allow app exclusions will appear below the toggle button. Click on them if you want to make changes.
- 17 tips for protecting Windows computers and Macs from ransomware (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Report: 99% of ransomware targets Microsoft products (TechRepublic)
- Can my machine run the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update? (TechRepublic)
- Gallery: What's new in Microsoft's Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (TechRepublic)
- Ransomware: An executive guide to one of the biggest menaces on the web (ZDNet)
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigation & Penetration Testing Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.