Controlled Folder Access Is Microsoft’s Answer To Ransomware
This year has seen three major ransomware attacks: WannaCry, Petya, and, most recently, BadRabbit. Ransomware, which is a form of malware, will encrypt your files such as documents or photos unless users pay a ransom in Bitcoin. Of course, since you’re dealing with criminals, there’s no guarantee that your files will even be decrypted once you’ve given them your money so most experts advise against paying the ransom. In order to prevent these kinds of attacks, Microsoft has rolled out a new feature with the Fall Creators Update designed to help protect your PC from ransomware.
Controlled Folder Access is Microsoft’s answer to ransomware because it protects the files that ransomware seeks to encrypt by denying access from unauthorized sources. This feature can be accessed via the Windows Defender Security Center. From there, click the Virus and Threat Protection shield icon and then click Virus and Threat protection settings. Within that section, you should see the Controlled Folder Access switch. It is turned off by default so you’ll need to activate it yourself.
While this is not a substitute for common sense and anti-virus software, it should provide you with a bit of extra protection against the next ransomware attack.
This was one of the less publicized features of the Fall Creators Update and we do understand why. Several of the other features were likely more interesting from a marketing and consumer standpoint, but we really wish Microsoft had pushed this one a bit more. It’s not as “fun” as some of the other new features, but, if widely implemented, it might slow down the frequent ransomware attacks that are plaguing the Windows-userbase.
As always, the best way to keep your computer safe is to ensure Windows is up-to-date, have a reliable form of anti-virus software and simply using common sense when browsing the internet. We’re sure most of our readers are well aware of those tips, but maybe the Controlled Folder Access program will save you a frustrated few hours of helping your relatives fix their malware-ridden machines.
Eric is an avid tech junkie, gamer, and comic fan. When he's not working on his PC, you'll find him at your local comic book shop.