Microsoft Adds Anti-Ransomware Features in Office 365

On Thursday Microsoft announced the ability to roll back files stored in OneDrive to versions stored up to a month ago, to help you return to a point before you were infected by malware. Microsoft's software and services still have the notoriety of being the target of such attempts and Redmond is taking a few steps to ensure the safety of its OneDrive and Office 365 users. Office documents that are attached to encrypted emails will also remain encrypted even after they're downloaded, so only the recipient will actually be able to open them. Microsoft is bringing the popular File Restore feature to OneDrive personal account users, previously it was available only to OneDrive for Business customers. When an attack is detected, Microsoft will alert the user through an email, mobile, or desktop notification and guide them through a recovery process where they will find the date and time of attack preselected in Files Restore. It lets you restore your files from a point within the last 30 days, bypassing the restrictions that ransomware makes. This helps users recover from ransomware, as well as file corruption, accidental erasure and other mishaps that can lead to data loss.

Microsoft today also announced the new ransomware detection & recovery feature for Office 365 users. That new protection includes the ability to set and require passwords to access a shared file or folder.

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. If that link links to a suspicious site, you'll be flagged. Useful when you accidentally forward an email to the wrong people.

On the email front, Microsoft is adding another level of encryption to Outlook.com, according to today's blog post. With the changes, links in Word, Excel and PowerPoint will now be screened in real time to determine if the destination website contains malicious material. Password protected sharing links, email encryption, and prevent forwarding will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

It's not clear how well Microsoft has secured files in Outlook versus, say, PGP - but Microsoft says you'll be able to encrypt a file sent via Outlook.com, then read it within Outlook for iOS/Android or the Windows Mail app. (Microsoft doesn't maintain the encryption if you respond to that email, though, or author another one from those other apps.) If you turn on the prevent-forwarding option, Microsoft will also encrypt the e-mail - as well as any Microsoft Office documents you've attached.

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