Ransomware is a nasty piece of work. The bad guys hijack your computer, encrypt all your files, and tell you they’ll sell you a decryption key for a certain amount of money. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll actually get the key. It turns out that about half of those who pay never see the key nor do they regain access to their files. The jerks not only take your files, but they take your money, too! Damn crooks… you can’t trust ’em.
It just so happens that Windows provides a strong layer of protection against Ransomware called Controlled Folder Access. (If a folder can’t be accessed, then it can’t be encrypted.) You will need to enable this feature and this week’s Quick Tips article is going to show you how to do just that.
Controlled Folder Access
Follow these few steps to either enable or disable Controlled Folder Access:
- Use the Windows Key + I to open the Settings App
- Choose Update & Security
- In the left panel, choose Windows Defender
- Click the button labeled Open Windows Defender Security Center
- Choose Virus & threat protection
- Choose Virus & threat protection settings
- Scroll down until you see Controlled folder access
That should bring you here:
If you toggle this switch to the On position, two new links will be displayed as shown in the above image:
- Protected folders — Clicking this option will show you a list of all the folders being protected by Windows. You cannot remove the default folders from this list, but you will be able to add/remove folders of your own choosing by using this option
- Allow an app through Controlled folder access — Windows will sometimes block access to a folder that one of your programs needs. This option will allow you to create exceptions for specific programs
If you have ever installed a third-party firewall, then you will be able to relate to this. You install the firewall breathing that satisfying sigh of relief only to be inundated by pop-ups asking if it’s OK to let this or that program through. At first, it will seem as if that’s all you are doing– giving programs permissions. Well, be prepared for a similar experience with Controlled Folder Access.
Windows will immediately begin to block access to many of the programs that you are comfortable using every day. In the beginning it will be a real pain in the neck, but as time goes by, this source of irritation will eventually subside as you add more and more exceptions to your list (as described above). This is the price one has to pay for a very good way to help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of Ransomware. Damn crooks…
As always, if you have any helpful suggestions, comments or questions, please share them with us,