Microsoft Updates Help Deter Ransomware

We are all too familiar with how smart cyber criminals are becoming. The threats of ransomware are enough to make everyone paranoid about what information they are sharing and with whom. Fortunately, if you are willing to take some precautions and open to “evolving” with them, there are ways to be safer on the internet. Microsoft, continues to stay ahead of criminals by developing and updating their intelligent software.

There is so much that Microsoft already does to prevent phishing scams, viruses, and ransomware. These include:

  • Web link and attachment scanning for known* viruses and phishing threats,
  • Encryption in transit and at rest, and
  • Powerful antivirus protection with Windows Defender.

Note: This is why it is important to report any potential scams to Microsoft, so they are added to their blacklist of links.

Some of the latest features of Microsoft’s OneDrive and Outlook updates were designed to combat ransomware threats.

Restore Your Files in OneDrive

All OneDrive accounts, whether personal or business, now have the capability to restore files from the previous 30 days. This feature allows you recover files lost from an accidental mass delete, file corruption, ransomware, or other catastrophic event. Here are steps on how to do so.

Receive Notifications When Ransomware is Detected 

Users spoke up on UserVoice and Microsoft listened. Office 365 now has the ability to detect ransomware before the attack and notify you via email or push notification on your desktop and/or your mobile device. Then, Microsoft will walk you through the recovery process where you’ll find the date and time of attack already selected in Files Restore.

Additional Features to Keep Your Data Safe

Microsoft has made it very easy to share files, folders, and data. They are also making it more secure with additional tools for:

  • Password protected sharing
    As the file creator, you now have the ability to set and create a password in order for recipients to access the shared link. This protects your files from being shared with anyone if they are accidentally forwarded or if someone gains access to your recipients email account.
  • Email encryption
    When you encrypt your emails in, you make it more difficult for hackers to intercept your communication. This is especially useful when you are unsure what level of security your intended recipients’ email provider offers. When turned on, the recipient will receive a link to a trusted Office 365 webpage. From here they can choose to receive a one-time passcode or re-authenticate with a trusted provider before viewing the email. email recipients who view the encrypted email in, the Outlook app, or the Windows Mail app can read and reply as normal. With automatic detection of sensitive information being sent in an email, such as social security number or credit card numbers, Microsoft will suggest to send with encryption.
  • Prevention of forwarding
    If you are sending confidential information, you can select “Encrypt and Prevent Forwarding” and the recipient will not be able to forward or copy the information in the email. If you attach Microsoft Office documents to your email, these are encrypted even after downloading, so if the recipient shares or forwards your attachment, the recipient of the forwarded email will not be able to open the attachment. Emails sent with the prevent forwarding option are also encrypted.

Advanced Link Checking

Similar to how links are checked in emails, Microsoft will now also automatically scan all links within your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents. If any malware is detected, you will receive a pop-up warning notification.

Download the Latest Versions

These features are free with Outlook, so just make sure you update your OneDrive and Outlook apps. Also, if you’d like toes what other security features are available in Outlook, view Office 365 advanced security features here.


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