Ransomware is probably the most dangerous form of malware. This is mostly used by cybercriminals to fetch access to the victim’s PCs. The use of ransomware has been observed to be increasing over the years.
How to Protect Windows From Ransomware
So, it is important that you learn how to protect your PC from ransomware attacks. In this article, I am going to tell you about the best ways you can do that.
1. Enable Controlled Folder Access
The controlled folder access is an integrated feature with the Microsoft Defender application. This helps in safeguarding your valuable files from modification by malicious applications and constantly monitoring threats to ransomware. This is especially helpful when the ransomware is trying to encrypt your important files on your PC.
You can easily enable controlled folder access by going into Settings> Update & Security> Windows Security> Open Windows Security> Virus & Threat protection> Manage ransomware protection and then turn on the “Controlled Folder Access” option. This is something very useful, but it has been seen interfering with the typical workflow of your PC.
So, I would recommend you to set a few applications in the whitelist. You can do this by clicking on the “Allow an app through controlled folder access” and selecting the apps so that they won’t be blocked unnecessarily.
2. Avoid Visiting Malicious Sites
It is quite common to be attacked by ransomware through visiting malicious websites that can cause harm to your PC. You may have visited such sites many times in the past, you may have got lucky those times, but it is advisable not to try your luck every time. Many of such sites are operated by hackers whose sole purpose is to steal data from the user’s PC.
Ransomware gets transmitted in the same way, through visiting a website that asks you to download a random plugin to be able to play a video or download a file of .exe format. So, the next time you visit a random website, be careful before downloading from such unknown sources. Again, a good firewall will check and block such downloads, as I said in the 1st point.
Tips: In the case of chrome and most other browsers, you can see a lock beside the website URL. If you see it unlocked for any website, avoid visiting that site.
3. Check .exe And .pdf Files
Most of the ransomware and other malware have .exe or .pdf file extensions. So, it is advisable to make sure you haven’t downloaded these files from any unreliable source. These are also common to be transmitted through emails coming from suspicious addresses. So, always check the source of the file before opening it.
It is preferable to not download any such file from emails or sites in the first place. You also have to disable the “Hide known file extensions” in the file manager of your Windows 10 to see the extension of any file. It is preferable to use cloud services and password-protected zip files to exchange executable files.
4. Regularly Update The OS
Hackers always try to exploit the vulnerabilities present in the operating systems and other software to inject their ransomware. Windows regularly release security patches to prevent hackers from exploiting such vulnerabilities. So, it is important you install these security patches and regularly update your Windows OS. It will significantly drop the chances of your PC getting attacked by ransomware.
Also, Microsoft keeps on adding new features to its Windows Defender with each update to make it better. Windows Defender is quite effective in detecting and blocking any kind of malware or ransomware and keeping your PC secured. So even if you’re not using any premium antivirus tool, make sure you’re updating the security patch and another update and keep yourself protected.
5. Take Regular Backup Of Important Files
The most annoying thing about ransomware attacks is that your storage drives may become unresponsive and won’t be able to access your important files. Most attackers also try to blackmail the victims for money in return for their important files. So, it is always important to make a backup of your important files to avoid such instances.
You can store them in a secondary location, for example, cloud storage or any hard drive. This will make sure that if your whole PC becomes unresponsive, you can access your important files from a new device. You can use cloud storage ex pCloud, existential hard disks, USB drives, etc.
Tips: Using DVD drives for backup storage is not preferable because they don’t have large storage and may get corrupted easily because of scratches.
Can Windows Defender protect from ransomware?
Yes. Windows Defender is capable enough to protect your PC from ransomware if you use the right settings.
Will reinstalling Windows remove ransomware?
Yes. Reinstalling Windows is one of the best methods to eliminate ransomware from PCs.