CryptoLocker. WannaCry. Petya. Bad Rabbit. The ransomware threat isn’t going away anytime soon; the news brings constant reports of new waves of this pernicious type of malware washing across the world. It’s popular in large part because of the immediate financial payoff for attackers: It works by encrypting the files on your hard disk, then demands that you pay a ransom, frequently in Bitcoins, to decrypt them.
But you needn’t be a victim. There’s plenty that Windows 10 users can do to protect themselves against it. In this article, I’ll show you how to keep yourself safe, including how to use an anti-ransomware tool built into Windows 10.
(Administrators, see “What IT needs to know about ransomware and Windows 10” at the end of this article.)
Note that this article assumes that you’re already taking the basic precautions against malware in general, including running anti-malware software and never downloading attachments or clicking links in email from unknown senders and suspicious-looking email. Also note that this article has been updated for the Windows 10 October 2020 Update (version 20H2). If you have an earlier release of Windows 10, some things may be different.