Two massive ransomware attacks — WannaCry and Petya (also known as NotPetya) — in a month have caused chaos and disruption worldwide, forcing hospitals, ATMs, shipping companies, governments, airports and car companies to shut down their operations.
Most ransomware in the market, including WannaCry and NotPetya, are specifically designed to target computers running Windows operating system, which is why Microsoft has been blamed for not putting proper defensive measures in place to prevent such threats.
In the wake of recent devastating global ransomware outbreaks, Microsoft has finally realised that its Windows operating system is deadly vulnerable to ransomware and other emerging threats that specifically targets its platform.
To tackle this serious issue, the tech giant has introduced a new anti-ransomware feature in its latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build (16232), along with several other security features.
Microsoft is planning to introduce these security features in Windows 10 Creator Update (also known as RedStone 3), which is expected to release sometime between September and October 2017.
The anti-ransomware feature, dubbed Controlled Folder Access, is part of Windows Defender that blocks unauthorised applications from making any modifications to your important files located in certain “protected” folders.
Applications on a whitelist can only access Protected folders allowing you too add or remove the apps from the list. Certain applications will be whitelisted automatically, though the company doesn’t specify which applications.
Once turned on, “Controlled folder access” will watch over files stored inside Protected folders and any attempt to access or modify a protected file by non-whitelisted apps will be blocked by Windows Defender, preventing MOST ransomware to encrypt your important files.
So, whenever an application tries to make changes to Protected files but is blacklisted by the feature, you will get a notification about the attempt.