Microsoft’s Controlled Folder Access Fights Ransomware

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Last week, Microsoft announced a brand new feature for protecting users’ data from ransomware and other malware infections. The feature is called Controlled folder access and it’s included in Windows Defender Security Center in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16232 for PC.

The new option should be available for all users in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update release, which will be out around October-November, this year.

In addition, the Microsoft Corporation announced that the Fall Creators Update will make the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) native to Windows 10, offering users an additional protection against exploits and other types of threats.

“In [Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16232], we’re making it easier for you to protect valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware. To enable the feature, search for and open the Windows Defender Security Center from Start, go to the Virus & threat protection settings section, and set the switch to On,” the Software Engineer Dona Sarkar, said.

According to Sarkar, the new Windows feature, was created to observe the changes that applications make to files in certain protected folders and blacklists any app that attempts to make such modifications, while at the same time notifying the user on the action taken.

A default list of folders (such as Documents, Pictures, Movies, and Desktop) will be included in the new option, though, users will have the opportunity to add more locations to the list. Yet, they won’t be able to modify the default folder list.

All users who don’t keep their files in the default Windows libraries will definitely have a manual option to add more folders to the protected list of folders.

“Click Protected folders in the Controlled folder access area and enter the full path of the folder you want to monitor. You can also enter network shares and mapped drives, but environment variables and wildcards are not supported (for right now),” Sarkar explained.

The controlled folder access is meant to provide users with extra security layer in addition to the defenses which were already built into Windows 10. Nevertheless, when it comes to online protection, the new Windows feature is not something users should rely entirely on. As hackers are constantly improving their efforts to bypass even the most proficient defenses, using a multi-layered approach to security is a much better option.

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Nelly Vladimirova
Nelly Vladimirova has been working as a journalist since 1998 with a main focus on Finance, Economics, and IT. In 2004 she graduated the University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, as a Bachelor in English Philology and Master in Linguistics and Translation. Later, Nelly received a postgraduate certificate in Business Management from Scott's College, UK. Presently, she is presenting the latest news related to computer security at www.virusguides.com.

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