After WannaCry and Petya, it seems like Microsoft has realised the potential harm that ransomware can cause to its operating systems and its customers’ sensitive information. This might partly be the reason why the Redmond-based company has now introduced new features that provide users protection from such malware with the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build.
With the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build, version 16232, Microsoft has introduced a new feature called ‘Controlled folder access’ to Windows Defender that protects users’ valuable data from malicious apps and threats (including ransomware), Dona Sarkar, head of Windows Insiders program at Microsoft, said in a blog post.
This new feature essentially monitors the changes that apps make to files in certain folders that are protected. If an app is blacklisted and tries to make changes to files in the protected folders, the user will get a notification about the attempt, Sarkar explains.
“You can complement the protected folders with additional locations, and add the apps that you want to allow access to those folders,” Sarkar said. In order to switch the Controlled folder access feature, Windows Insiders need to head to the Windows Defender Security Center and go to the Virus & threat protection settings section.
To allow certain apps through the feature, users need to click Allow an app through Controlled folder access and locate and add the app.
Apart from this feature, the company has also added ‘Exploit Protection’ with the latest build. “Starting with this build you can now audit, configure, and manage Windows system and application exploit mitigation settings right from the Windows Defender Security Center,” Sarkar said in her post. Notably, Exploit Protection has been described as a work-in-progress and might not be fully function yet, as per the blog post. There were also several improvements to the capabilities of Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG).
It is good to see that Microsoft is finally responding to the threats to Windows 10 in a constructive manner but the company will have to stay on its feet with the growing capabilities of hackers and leaks of state-sponsored hacking tools.