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Office 365 Adds New Ransomware Protection Tools

Microsoft’s new advanced cybercrime protection capabilities that include ransomware detection & recovery and Files Restore on OneDrive and Outlook, starts rolling out to Office 365 Business, Home and Personal subscribers on Wednesday.

Here are the details of these new protection capabilities:

Microsoft is now offering two new capabilities to subscribers that help recover files as and when affected by a malicious attack or ransomware.

Borrowed from OneDrive for Business, the new “Files Restore” restores your entire OneDrive to a previous state from within the last 30 days backup.

The feature can be useful to recover from an accidental mass delete, file corruption, ransomware, or another catastrophic event. Below you can see a screenshot displaying Files Restore feature in OneDrive:

While, the second utility, a “ransomware detection & recovery” not only detects a ransomware attack, but it also helps restoring your OneDrive to a state before the files were compromised by the attack.

When an attack happend, users will get alerts via email, mobile, or desktop notification and will be guided as well through a recovery process with date and time of attack preselected in Files Restore.

This screenshot display a Ransomware detection & recovery alert on a mobile:

Office 365 Notification of ransomware detected on mobile phone

Tools to Keep Information Secure and Private

Microsoft is now prividing additional security options for link sharing in OneDrive through “Password protected sharing links”. You can now set a password to access a shared file or folder.

Here is an animated GIF showing the process of creating a password protected link:

Office 365 Password Protected Link Sharing

Email encryption in Outlook.com offers an added layer of protection and ensures end-to-end encryption of your email. Unlike Outlook.com, some email providers don’t encrypt their connection, making it easy for hackers to intercept and read your communication. When you use Outlook.com email encryption, your email remains encrypted over a secure connection—minimizing the threat of your information being intercepted or leaked to cybercriminals.

Encryption is particularly useful in cases where it is unclear what level of security your intended recipients’ email providers offer. Recipients receive a link to a trusted Office 365 webpage where they can choose to receive a one-time passcode or re-authenticate with a trusted provider before viewing the email. Outlook.com email recipients who view the encrypted email in Outlook.com, the Outlook for iOS and Android app, or the Windows Mail app can read and reply just like they can with any other email—no extra steps needed. When composing an email in Outlook.com, sensitive information like social security numbers can be detected to provide you with a suggestion to send with encryption.

Prevent forwarding let users restrict email recipients from forwarding or copying emails sent from Outlook.com. Just select “Encrypt and Prevent Forwarding,” so recipients can’t forward or copy the email.

Additionally, Office documents attached to emails are now encrypted, “even after downloading the recipient sharing or forwarding these attachment will not be able to open them,” writes Microsoft.

This GIF shows encryption and prevention of forwarding in an email:

Office 365 Encrypt and Prevent email Forwarding

Lastly, Microsoft is also now offering advanced link checking and attachment scanning in Outlook.com to protect from any unseen viruses and phishing scams in real-time.

In addition, the company will also protect Word, Excel, and PowerPoint users link checking feature in real-time. If you click an unsafe link, a warning screen recommending not to access the site will be displayed.

Check out this animated screen shot of detecting unsafe link in an email:

Office 365 Unsafe LInk Warning

Additionally, customers can also use other security features to protect their accounts, like two-factor authentication and anomalous sign-in detection.

The schedule of the launch to Office 365 subscribers will happen over the period as mentioned below:

  • Password protected sharing links, email encryption, and prevent forwarding will start rolling out in coming weeks.
  • Advanced link checking and advanced attachment scanning is already available in Outlook.com.
  • Advanced link checking in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be coming in the second half of 2018.
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