How To Turn On Windows 10 as Ransomware Protection
Windows 10 ransomware protection sill is the first line of defense for users of Windows in 2021.
Ransomware not only refuses access to your data but requires a ransom to be paid. And criminals are frequently turning to so-called “double extortion,” where they threaten to disclose sensitive user data if a separate payment isn’t paid.
And the extent of payments is on the rise. In 2020, the average cost of ransomware nearly tripled to $312,493 in 2020 and the ‘highest amount paid’ doubled to $10 million, according to Palo Alto Networks.
Are you protected? Windows ransomware protection basics
Still unknown to many consumer users of Windows, Microsoft offers built-in ransomware protection as part of Windows Defender, found under Virus & Threat Protection.
The tips to turn it on aren’t complicated: type in “Ransomware Protection” in the Windows 10 Cortana search bar (typically in the bottom lower left of the screen) then go to the “Ransomware Protection” screen.
A YouTube video from The PC Security Channel — an organization sponsored by the Ingenuity Lab, University of Nottingham — ran tests earlier this year to show the level of protection you can require from Windows Defender.
While the online protection test let only a single ransomware “sample” get through (see 2:20 mark), the offline protection was much dicier (see: 7:40 mark) with 10 samples missed.
The PC Security Channel recommends turning on the Controlled Folder Access, as cited above.
Microsoft admits that cloud protection is important. “Cloud protections are an important part of defending new malware in real-time,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “They allow us to continually enhance our anti-malware and other security features built into our platforms to fight the evolving complexity of threats,” the spokesperson said.
Tactics to fend off ransomware
It’s strongly suggested by cybersecurity professionals that you use a cloud-based file hosting service with automatic backups, such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, so you’re regularly backing up files.
Another good protection is a so-called “air gap” strategy where the external storage medium is completely disconnected (i.e., offline) from your computer and the internet. Back up your files, then take out the storage device.
Another bit of recommendation is to separate work and personal devices, says Unit 42 of Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity company. While attackers tend to target companies, schools, and hospitals, “we may see consumers who are working from home and doing their shopping on their work devices get targeted by attackers,” Unit 42 said.