Avast Antivirus: Ransomware Shield

Ransomware Shield

Access this feature from: ProtectionRansomware Shield

Ransomware Shield secures your personal photos, documents, and files from being modified, deleted, or encrypted by ransomware attacks. This feature scans for and automatically secures folders which 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.

Ransomware Shield is enabled by default. To disable this feature, click the green ON slider and click Yes to confirm the change. The slider changes to red and displays the text OFF. We recommend to keep Ransomware Shield turned on at all times.

Note: This feature is available in Avast Ultimate, Avast Premier and Avast Internet Security only.

Specify your protected folders

By default, Ransomware Shield scans for and automatically secures folders where your personal data might be stored. To manually add another folder to the list, click the Add Folders tile, then select a folder and click OK.

To remove a folder, click the trash bin icon on the tile of the relevant folder, then click Stop Protecting.

To specify which types of files are protected in each folder, click Change protected file types. All listed file types are selected by default. Tick the box next to a file type to deselect it, then click Close to return to the main Ransomware Shield screen.

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, a Ransomware Shield notification appears asking whether you want to block or allow the application. After selecting your preference, the application is added to the Blocked Applications or Allowed Applications list.

To manually add an application to either list, click Blocked / allowed apps. Click Allow an App or Block an App, then select an application and click Open.

To remove an application, hover your cursor over the relevant application's row and click the X icon.

Click Close to return to the main Ransomware Shield screen.

Adjust Ransomware Shield activity

To specify how Ransomware Shield handles attempts to access files in your protected folders, click Show details and select an option:

  • 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 which are not in this list attempt to modify files in your protected folders, you are notified and asked for permission.
  • Strict Mode: you are notified and asked for permission each time an application (excluding those which you may have already added to the Blocked / Allowed apps lists) attempts to modify files in your protected folders. Selecting this option may result in frequent and potentially annoying alerts.

When a Ransomware Shield popup 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.

Note: You can additionally manage your blocked and allowed applications by clicking Blocked / allowed apps.

Troubleshoot issues

The following issues may occur:

  • Ransomware Shield does not appear in the main menu: ensure you are using the latest version of Avast Ultimate, Avast Premier or Avast Internet Security. To update Avast, go to MenuSettingsUpdate, and click Update in the Program section.
    Note: This feature is not available in Avast Pro Antivirus, or Avast Free Antivirus.
  • Ransomware Shield displays popups too often: if you receive several notifications from Avast asking you to block or allow applications, ensure your Ransomware Protection sensitivity is set to Smart Mode. if you selected Strict Mode, Avast notifies you each time any application (excluding those which you may have already added to the Blocked / Allowed apps lists) attempts to modify files in your protected folders.
  • 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 the Allowed Apps list.