Ransomware Protection in Windows 10

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New member
Oct 3, 2020
With a lot of the Security Now podcast discussing ransomware, I thought I'd ask about the ransomware protection systems that Windows 10 has built-in. Bleeping Computer has a good write-up on how to enable it: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/how-to-enable-ransomware-protection-in-windows-10/

It requires that you use Windows Defender, which I've heard Steve and Leo say works well for Windows (and is free!). As the article says:

Windows 10's includes a Ransomware Protection feature that is comprised of two components: Controlled Folder Access and Ransomware Data Recovery

Do note that:
Unfortunately, if you have a third-party antivirus software installed and Windows Defender's real-time protection is disabled, the Ransomware Protection features screen and the Controlled Folder Access feature won't be accessible.

This isn't 100% (and nothing is in security), but seems like a good idea to have enabled if you're running Windows these days, particularly in a enterprise environment. Hope this helps!
Enterprise users can optionally use app whitelisting.

I've never used these, because I don't have the necessary licenses, but it seems to me like it would be a great way to stop most malware cold... at the expense of also stopping a lot of valid software pretty cold too (at least initially while you get your working set figured out.)
Both controlled folder access and exe white-listing are ultra high maintenance. Without at least a year of intensive observation, logging and planning, the disruption to operations in our enterprise environment would be untenable. White-listing on servers would be much more manageable and since they're higher value targets anyway, are well worth the necessary time to plan, monitor and implement.
Automated white listing by Signed Publisher and/or certificate authority would help immensely. Host processes and command interpreters may be an issue however.
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