Friday, November 25, 2022

How To Make My Laptop Secure

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Use A Standard User Account

Top 5 Ways to Make Your Windows 10 OS More Secure

Windows provides a certain level of rights and privileges depending on what kind of user account you have. You may use a standard user account or an administrator user account.

To secure your PC, it is recommended to have a standard account to prevent users from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer, such as deleting important Windows files necessary for the system.

With a Standard user account, you have limited rights and cannot do things like changing system settings, or installing new software apps, hardware or changing the username and passwords. Heres why you should use an account like this one and how to create it.

If you want to install an application or make security changes, remember that you will need an administrator account.

We also recommend that you set a strong password for your Windows user account.

Use this security guide that will help you set unique and strong passwords and manage them like an expert.

Don’t Use The Admin Account

“Set up separate user accounts and don’t use ones with Administrator privileges for your day-to-day needs,” says Ken Underhill, a master instructor at Cybrary, “unless your day-to-day requires it, of course.” Matt Aldridge, the principal solutions architect at Webroot, says the ideal is to have one admin account that you “only use for installing new software or updates,” while keeping an unprivileged user account for everything else. “Obviously, ensure unique and secure passwords are used for both accounts,” Aldridge says. If admin privileges are required when installing software, say, you won’t have to swap accounts as Windows 10 will pop up a box asking for the admin password if you want to proceed. Simple and secure, just the way I like it.

Don’t Fall For Phishing Scams

Many malicious pop-up ads or websites will attempt to pull information out of you that you would never otherwise divulge. There are plenty of phony Microsoft tech support pop-ups that want you to sign in with your email address and password associated with your account so that the malware on your PC can be fixed. Here’s the thing: there’s no malware, and Microsoft tech support isn’t reaching out to help you.

Even if you receive a phone call saying it’s Microsoft support, believe us: the company has better things to do than scan every Windows 10 PC for malware. Never type your password into a field you didn’t prompt, and otherwise never give up too much information to a number you didn’t call. You never know how far your mother’s maiden name can go when answering security questions.

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Make Sure Your Computer Or Device Has A Decent Firewall

Most computers these days have an integrated firewall built in to the operating system. Windows has the imaginatively titled Windows Firewall and Mac OS X has an integrated one too . For Linux, it depends on your flavour, but this article from Tech Radar gives a list of decent firewalls you could consider.

Enable The Control Access Folder

How To Create A Safe, Secure Password

Control Access Folder is part of Microsoft Defender Antivirus. This optional tool offers protection against ransomware attacks by preventing malicious software from encrypting your data and making unwanted changes.

When enabled, it can monitor any apps trying to modify the files in the protected folder without authorization. It will block the attempt and alert you of suspicious activity.

Heres how to enable Control Access Folder in Windows 10.

  • Click on Start and choose Settings.
  • Open Updates& Security.
  • Click on the Windows Security tab from the left pane.
  • Click on Virus & threat protection under the Windows Security section. This will open the Windows Security window.
  • Scroll down to Ransomware protection and click on the Manage ransomware protection link.
  • Toggle the switch to enable Control Folder Access. Click Yes when prompted by Windows Security to confirm the action.
  • To add folders, click the Protected Folders option. Click the Add a protected folder button, choose the folder and click Add folder.
  • After you have added the folders, the anti-ransomware feature will monitor the new locations for suspicious activity. Click on the Block history link under the Controlled Folder Access section to view all the blocked actions.

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    S You Can Take To Secure A Laptop

    An essential element of information security

    Travelling with a laptop can represent a significant security risk to your business. This is because the data it contains is far more vulnerable when you are on the move than when you use a laptop in the relative safety of your office or home environment.

    It doesn’t have to be stolen because it takes just seconds for a hacker to slip a USB stick into a laptop when it is unattended to install malicious software or steal data. Even relatively unsophisticated hackers can run programs like Mailpassview from a USB stick to steal your email account details and email password.

    There are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Here are 10 simple things you can do to help keep your laptop secure when you are on the go.

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    Get A Security Program In Place

    New threats seem to surface with alarming frequency, and you should protect your new investment from whatever nastiness might come its way. Making sure your software is patched is an important step, but you should also make sure your entire machine has security software installed to protect your privacy, and keep your data safe from ransomware and other threats.

    Some operating systems come with basic security protections already in place, but many security programs go beyond those basics and offer more robust protection from a wider variety of threats. .

    Set A Password With Your Screensaver

    Laptop Security – How To Keep Your Laptop Safe!

    Theres no reason someone in your office, home, or travel location should be able to access your system if you step away for a few minutes. Its a good idea to make sure your PC automatically locks after a set period of inactivity.

    While its actually a security setting, youll find it inside the Appearances and Personalization section within your Control Panel. You can turn this on when you adjust your screensaver settings. Its easy to choose the time until a screensaver displays, set the screen saver, and turn on the setting that brings you back to the login screen when you come back.

    Security starts with following the most basic protocols. So make sure you password protect your PC.

    Get the steps for password protecting your PC after a screensaver here: How to Set a Windows Screen Saver Password

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    Fasten Your Laptop With A Kensington Cable

    If you share an office or leave your laptop unattended in public places, you can greatly reduce the chance of your laptop being stolen by tying it to the table using a Kensington table. If you use your laptop only in trusted places or never let it out of your sight, then these cables arent necessary.

    Ensure Windows Defender Is Operating Properly

    The Windows Defender Security Center is a native Windows 10 app that includes an antivirus, firewall, and more. These tools are designed to keep unwanted malware from getting onto your computer, to cleanse your PC when an infection occurs, and to keep malware that has made it onto your PC from communicating with the open internet.

    There are, of course, plenty more antivirus options out there, but Windows Defender is a strong option. No antivirus is 100-percent effective, but it should give you some peace of mind knowing that there’s a barrier between you and ruin. Without antivirus, consider the front door to your home remaining unlocked while a riot takes place just outside.

    Be sure to scan any new files with the antivirus software, frequently scan your entire PC, and always keep your antivirus software updated to ensure security definitions are current.

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    Uninstall Flash With Windows Update

    Windows Update KB4577586: This update removes Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. Microsoft has released it as a cumulative Windows update. If you dont have this patch installed yet, you can manually download it from the Windows Update Catalog.

    Run the update and follow on-screen instructions. Once installed, it will remove the Flash Player from your PC.

    How To Secure Your Laptop In Public Places

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    When youre working offsite, whether at a clients office or the local coffee shop, youve got to protect your laptop, whether from physical theft or the nosy cyber-snoop whos trying to flip through your iTunes library . While your company has probably provided you with a VPN to securely connect to their internal network, what about your personal passwords and local files? Lets take a look at a few good habits to get into for safe laptop computing, and then some more advanced tactics.

    The Basics: Best Practices Every laptop user should have a healthy paranoia about the possibility of getting their notebook stolen or hacked while theyre using a public Wi-Fi network at the airport or coffeehouse. Stay circumspect and use some of the tools built into your notebooks operating system to keep yourself safe.

    Turn on your firewall. When youre on an open Wi-Fi network, make sure you have your laptops firewall on and blocking unwanted incoming connections. In Windows Control Panel, click on Windows Firewall. On your Mac, in System Preferences, go to Security and click on the Firewall tab to turn it on.

    Use https whenever possible. When youre checking your webmail like Gmail or Yahoo Mail, or visiting any site with the option, make sure youre using the https:// connection to encrypt any information you submit there, like your password. Most modern webmail and calendar programs like Gmail and Google Calendar offer an https:// option.

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    Only Download Files From Trusted Sources

    Just because SmartScreen doesn’t pick up a website or file as malicious that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk. If you’re, say, attempting to download some sort of file from a website with a long URL with plenty of consonants in a row , you might be putting yourself at risk.

    As a rule of thumb, always try to download files from trusted websites.

    Protect Your Laptop Digitally & Physically

    Laptop protection tips come in two main categories: 1) Digital protection and 2) Physical protection. While you may not be able to stop every threat to your laptop while its being taken from place to place, these tips will help you greatly reduce the risk of loss and lower the chance of laptop damage.

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    Use Device Encryption Or Bitlocker To Protect Your Hard Drive

    If your computer gets lost or stolen, the thief can easily remove your hard drive and access your files. Device encryption makes it almost impossible for anyone to get access to the information on your disk drive.

    Encryption works by encoding your data with a super-complicated cipher, which can only be decoded by the computer that generated the encryption. Without your password, all of your data just appears as a string of random characters.

    Windows Device Encryption is included on many Windows 10 Home machines. This feature can encrypt folders and files on command, as well as making disk partitions to store large amounts of encrypted data.

    To see if you have this option enabled, click the Windows icon, then click Settings, then Update & Security.

    Windows Device Encryption is pretty strong, but users that upgrade to Windows 10 Pro get access to the Bitlocker encryption tool. It encrypts all of the data on your drive and includes a useful dashboard function to change settings.

    Windows Device Encryption and Bitlocker both use 256-bit AES encryption, which is the preferred encryption for banks, militaries, and governments around the world.

    Report The Theft To The Authorities

    How to keep your computer safe for free

    Once youve taken steps to track your laptop, its time to let the authorities know what happened.

    File a police report

    It probably goes without saying that you should report the theft to the police. You can do this by calling or visiting your local police departments office, but youll also probably be able to file a theft report via their website.

    Once the police approves your report, ask for a copy. Take note of the case number, the officer assigned to your report, and the police stations phone number. Youll need to provide this information to the other authorities, such as your insurance company and the laptop manufacturer.

    Tell your bank

    If you ever shop online, your credit card information might be saved on your laptop. Contact your bank immediately to freeze your cards and stop people from accessing your online accounts.

    You should do this even if you encrypted your hard drive. Theres a good chance that doing so prevented the thieves from stealing your data, but its still better to be safe.

    Once you notify your bank, theyll help monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. You should also keep a close eye on your bank statements for the next few months, just in case.

    File a claim with your insurance company

    If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you can file an insurance claim for your stolen laptop. Be prepared to provide that copy of your police reportyour insurance company will probably ask to see it.

    Contact your computer manufacturer

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    Make Sure Your Router Has A Decent Firewall

    A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that lets the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. Most internet service providers offer a free router and modem when you sign up with them. Make sure that it has a decent firewall. If you are a tech-savvy person then you can even upgrade the firmware on many routers to improve the security amongst other things. This Lifehacker article gives some good tips on how to do this.

    Explore The Security Tools You Install

    Many excellent apps and settings help protect your devices and your identity, but they’re only valuable if you know how to use them properly. To get the maximum protective power from these tools, you must understand their features and settings. For example, your smartphone almost certainly includes an option to find it if lost, and you may have even turned it on. But did you actively try it out, so you’ll know how to use it if needed?

    Most antivirus tools have the power to fend off Potentially Unwanted Applications , troublesome apps that aren’t exactly malware but don’t do anything beneficial. But not all of them enable PUA detection by default. Check the detection settings and make sure yours configured to block these annoyances. Likewise, your security suite may have components that aren’t active until you turn them on. When you install a new security product, flip through all the pages of the main window, and at least take a glance at the settings.

    To be totally sure your antivirus is configured and working correctly, you can turn to the security features check page on the website of the AMTSO . If your antivirus doesn’t pass, it’s time to contact tech support and find out why.

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    Use A Local Login Account

    “Use a local login account, not your Windows account, to log onto your machine,” Ciaran Byrne, head of platform Operations at Edgescan, says. Although Windows 10 Home will default to your Windows account, as this makes it easier to log in across all devices with one account, Byrne says, “the problem is that if, say, your Hotmail credentials were compromised, then your machine would also be compromised.”

    Improve Your Laptops Physical Security

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    This one sounds obvious, but physical security for laptops involves keeping a close eye on your device. Its easy for others to steal it from your hotel room, at an airport, from your car, or in plain sight at a café or library. Never leave your company laptop unattended in public, nor in locations that arent totally secure.

    In places like coffee shops and co-working spaces, securing your laptop to a table with a lockable cable can greatly reduce the risk of theft. Location-tracking software could prove a lifesaver if you ever lose your laptop, but make sure youre sharing your location with a trustworthy provider: the best laptop tracking software will have been vetted by reputable sources.

    This isnt strictly a security issue, but youll want to protect your laptop from physical damage. Adding a cover to your laptop can help you avoid any of the fatal bumps or accidents that can cause data loss.

    • Secure your laptop in public with a lockable cable.
    • Use a cover for extra physical protection.
    • Install location-tracking softwarebut only from reputable providers.

    DONT:

    • Leave laptops unlocked and unattended.
    • Use untested location-tracking software.

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