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I set up an external drive for data backup (an SD card inside my laptop card slot). In addition, I connect with a cloud drive for offsite backup (an app that I run only when syncing files).

I always sign in and use my laptop as a 'standard' user. My external drive is set for UAC 'read' privilege only.

I then set my data sync app to run as admin only - meaning I need to type in the admin password before data can be synced to my external drive and to the cloud.

Of course I will remain vigilant about keeping OS and apps updated and avoid clicking email links or downloading unsolicited payloads,etc. -- but in case I miss something and a ransomware comes through, will my Win 10 system stop that ransomware from encrypting my external drive?

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  • I should add that my cloud drive syncs to my external drive -- not to the data in my working HDD. Jan 4, 2020 at 1:19

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Per your description, so far you've only configured a backup routine for your data, however if a ransomware (e.g WannaCry) affects your computer, it can still encrypts the data in it, and this includes an external drive that is mounted and accessible by Windows.

The described backup procedure has no correlation with a protection layer (antivirus of some kind) against a malicious software with capabilities to encrypt data in your computer. Once the computer is formatted, you will be able to recover the data previously stored in the backups.

Notice that if you willingly install and run a malware in your computer, there is no layer of defense against it.

It seems you are confusing some technical aspects of how a ransomware works, therefore I recommend you to read the following:

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