Ransomware Shield - Getting Started

Ransomware Shield secures your personal photos, documents, and other files from being modified, deleted, or encrypted by ransomware attacks. This feature scans and automatically secures folders that may contain personal data and allows you to specify which other folders you want to protect from untrusted applications. Additionally, you can specify which applications are allowed to modify the files in your folders and which applications are always blocked. This feature is available for Avast Premium Security and Avast Omni.

Specify your protected folders

By default, Ransomware Shield scans and automatically secures folders where your personal data might be stored.

To manually add another folder to the Protected folders list:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Click the Protection tile in the left panel and select Ransomware Shield.
  3. Add or remove a selected folder:
    • To add a folder: click Protect New Folder, navigate to the folder you want to protect, and click OK to confirm.
    • To remove a folder: hover your cursor over the folder's panel, click the X icon, then click Stop Protecting to confirm.

To manually define protected file types according to your preferences:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Click the Protection tile in the left panel and select Ransomware Shield.
  3. Click the gear icon in the top right corner to access Ransomware Shield settings.
  4. Scroll to File types and specify which files you want to protect in your protected folders. All listed file types are selected by default. Untick the box next to a file type to deselect it. Additionally, you can specify a file type not listed, by adding it manually into the box below the default list.

Manage blocked and allowed applications

Ransomware Shield blocks malware and viruses from modifying files in your protected folders and allows trusted applications by default. When an untrusted application attempts to modify files in your protected folders, you receive a Ransomware Shield notification, asking you to block or allow the application. After selecting your preference, the application is added to the Blocked & Allowed apps screen.

To open the Blocked & Allowed apps screen:

  1. Open the Avast user interface and go to MenuSettings.
  2. Go to MenuSettings.
  3. Select GeneralBlocked & Allowed apps.

For detailed instructions on using the Blocked & Allowed apps screen, refer to the article below:

Adjust Ransomware Shield activity

You can specify how Ransomware Shield behaves when an application attempts to access files in your protected folders.

To configure Ransomware Shield's behavior:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Click the Protection tile in the left panel and select Ransomware Shield.
  3. Click the gear icon in the top right corner to access Ransomware Shield settings.
  4. Select one of the following options:
    • Smart mode (default and recommended setting): Ransomware Shield refers to a list of commonly used and trusted applications to determine which programs can modify files in your protected folders. If any applications that are not in this list attempt to modify files in your protected folders, you are notified and asked for permission.
    • Strict mode: If any applications attempt to modify files in your protected folders, you are notified and asked for permission every time (excluding those you have already added to the Blocked / allowed apps lists). Selecting this option may result in frequent and potentially obtrusive alerts.
When a Ransomware Shield pop-up notification appears, click Allow app to add the program to a list of permitted applications, or click Block app to always block the application from modifying files in your protected folders. Additionally, you can manage your blocked and allowed applications by clicking Blocked / allowed .

Disable Ransomware Shield temporarily

Ransomware Shield is enabled by default to secure your personal photos, documents, and other files from being modified, deleted, or encrypted by ransomware attacks. In some cases, Ransomware Shield can be disabled for troubleshooting purposes.

To disable your Ransomware shield:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Click the Protection tile in the left panel and select Ransomware Shield.
  3. Click the green ON slider next to Ransomware Shield, then select how long you want Ransomware Shield to remain disabled. If prompted, click OK to confirm.

Ransomware Shield is now disabled. To enable it, follow steps 1-2 above, then click the red OFF slider so that it changes to green ON.

Troubleshooting

This feature is not available in Avast Free Antivirus.

The following issues may occur:

  • Ransomware Shield does not appear in the main menu:
    • Ensure you are using the latest version of Avast Premium Security or Avast Omni. To update Avast, go to MenuSettingsUpdate, and click Update in the application section.
  • Ransomware Shield displays popups too often:
    • If you receive too many notifications from Avast asking you to block or allow applications, ensure your Ransomware Protection sensitivity is set to Smart Mode. If you select Strict Mode, Avast notifies you every time any application attempts to modify files in your protected folders (excluding those you have already added to the Blocked / Allowed apps lists).
  • You cannot save files using an editing application:
    • Ensure the application you are using is not in your Blocked Apps list. Alternatively, you can add the application to your Allowed Apps list.
  • Avast Premium Security 19.x
  • Avast Omni 1.x
  • Avast Premier 19.x
  • Avast Internet Security 19.x
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education - 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise - 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 / Pro / Enterprise - 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate - Service Pack 1, 32 / 64-bit

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