Set Complex Passwords Where It Counts
While we dont recommend relying on passwords alone, theyre a great place to start when it comes to improving laptop security. Login passwords are essential in preventing other people from gaining unwanted access to your files at boot-up. If you frequently use your laptop in public placesincluding an officesetting a password-protected lock screen is a good idea. It should go without saying, but these passwords should be unique and hard to guess. Consider using numbers, symbols, or full sentences or passphrasesbut avoid using your birthday, for instance.
As you continue to strengthen your laptop security, consider moving away from passwords altogether. By using a single sign-on solution, for example, you can access many different applications with just the one set of login credentials linked to your laptop. Your IT admins may also experiment with a variety of different passwordless authentication methods, like factor sequencing and email magic links, as all are more secure alternatives to storing and remembering passwords.
- Set a hard-to-guess password or passphrase for logging into your laptop.
- Use a password-protected screensaver for when you step away.
- Use solutions and authentication methods that cut down on password use, like single sign-on.
- Recycle the same passwords across different accounts.
- Use password managers or auto-remember features in browsers and websitesthese are susceptible to data breaches.
How To Avoid Computer Viruses And Other Nasties
Even if you have anti-virus software to tackle adware, spyware, trojans, worms and every conceivable type of malware, you still can’t afford to get complacent or careless. The most common ways in which people let their machines get infected are:
- Opening email attachments from suspicious, unknown or unsolicited sources
- Installing dodgy software
- Using infected USB sticks
- Browsing the internet with an old operating system and browser
Cut out or cut down on these risky activities and you will dramatically reduce your exposure to malware.
Laptops In Academic Environments
Accidents happen, especially at school. Whether a first-grader is using a school chromebook from a cart or a high school senior is using their personal laptop, a few seconds is all it takes for an accident to happen. A tipped drink can spill onto the keyboard. Screens can crack under minimal pressure. An unprotected laptop, even in a backpack, can sustain severe damage when bumped, shaken or dropped.
Thankfully, protecting these devices is not difficult. By developing responsible habits and equipping your devices with reliable laptop protection accessories, you can prevent or reduce the chances incurring the most common damages, including:
- Broken screens
- Environmental damage
- Damaged ports and cables
Don’t chance damaging such a significant investment or risk losing valuable school work. Higher Ground laptop cases for students help keep your laptops and Chromebooks in great condition for years. We created this guide to teach students, parents and teachers how to take care of laptops in school, at home and everywhere in between.
Don’t Miss: How To Connect Airpods To Laptop
Clear Your Browsing History
Your mobile web browser has a browsing history, too. Clear it often â including cookies and cached files â to give hackers as little information as possible to work with if they do break into your phone.
Key takeaway: Mobile devices require additional efforts to protect, including deactivating certain features when they’re not in use and installing security applications.
Additional reporting by Jackie Dove.
Keep Your System And Software Up To Date
The best way to keep your laptop malware-free is to not download random things and to keep your software up to date. Modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have auto-update enabled by default, but you still need to restart them from time to time. Make sure to turn on auto-update for your operating system and apps to benefits from the latest security patches (here is how to do it for macOS, Windows 10 by default do it.
You May Like: How To Change Lenovo Laptop Password
Encrypt And Back Up Your Files
Not only should you worry about threats coming from the internet, you should also be wary of physical threats, when, for example, you leave your laptop unattended in a coffee shop while you grab your order from the counter. You return, and the laptop is gone.
Yes, you should have a password in place that must be entered each time you boot the PC. Yes, the password should be strong. However, you should also consider encrypting and backing up your files. Even if someone has the means to get around your password, having your sensitive data in an encrypted vault will stop them in their tracks.
We’ve written plenty about Windows 10 encryption and backups, including what it is, how it works, how to set it up, and the best options when it comes to software.
Never Leave Your Computer Unattended
I know this is obvious, but dont leave your computer on if youre not around. I suppose it depends on where the computer is. I have a server at home that is on all the time, but I do trust my wife not to hack in to the computer and install a virus! Its not enough to go to the lock screen either, as someone could just connect a device to your computer and steal your data or even your whole computer. Its probably a good idea to look at encrypting your hard drive, but thats for another time!
You May Like: How To Screen Record On A Hp Computer
Keep Your Password Safe And Hard To Guess
I wrote an article before about how easy it is for your password to be compromised. The truth is you cant trust any site that you give your password to because you dont know how they store it. Its best to use a different password for each website your sign up to. I know that sounds hard, but its quite easy to do- more information in my earlier article.
Id also highly recommend the password manager- Last Pass. This manages all your passwords securely so that you never have to type it on your computer or store them anywhere insecurely. It also has a password generator, so you can effectively have a different strong complicated password for each site you visit. It is highly recommended!
Finally, be careful about saving passwords on applications on your computer. Famously, the FTP client Filezilla stores your passwords in plain text. Not great for security.
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.
Recommended Reading: Can You Use Airpods On Xbox
How To Recover Lost Data After A Ransomware Attack
Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common and there is a very slim chance of data recovery after one.
The best way to secure your files is to store them on your favorite cloud service. Windows Defender offers a Microsoft OneDrive integration that allows you to recover lost files in case you fall prey to a ransomware attack.
Basically, you need to set up OneDrive in Windows and copy all important files to the OneDrive folder in Windows Explorer.
This can either be done manually or using Windows Defender’s ransomware protection settings:
If you are already using another cloud service to store important files then enabling this option is not necessary as your files will be safe anyway.
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.
Recommended Reading: Connect Phone To Laptop Screen
Dispose Of Old It Equipment And Records Securely
Before you get rid of them, make sure no personal data is left on personal computers, laptops, smartphones or any other devices. You could consider using deletion software, or hire a specialist to wipe the data. This will ensure no one can access information theyre not supposed to see when you dispose of the equipment.
How To Protect Your Laptop From Damage
Laptops are great resources for students, with studies showing a positive impact on attention and learning if used correctly. Many schools around the country are formally integrating laptop usage into classrooms. Thousands of other students have personal laptops that they use daily for completing their academic responsibilities. Whether educators use these devices to teach elementary students to read or to help high school students prepare for college, there is no doubt that these important resources need constant protection from accidental damage.
Higher Ground is continually impressed by the creative ways teachers and school districts are integrating technology into their curriculum. We love that students are using their laptops in innovative ways to reach new academic horizons. From elementary school through college, these students can discover unlimited knowledge from around the world in the convenience of their home or classroom. Higher Ground strives to not only protect laptops and Chromebooks but also make them more functional, accessible and easier to use anyplace, anytime.
Also Check: Dell Computer Financing Bad Credit
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.”
How To Protect Laptop In Backpack
Even though you have your backpack, it is still important to pay attention to a few final thoughts:
- Make sure you shut your computer down to protect it from overheating.
- Before you close the lid, check there is nothing on the keyboard that may come in contact with the screen.
- Unplug all of your cables. Im a little guilty of this when Im in a rush, but leaving the power cable in runs the risk of breaking the charging port and you wont be able to get power to your laptop. Damage can also occur to USB devices too, so be sure to check for any errant dongles.
- Place your laptop in a sleeve or laptop case for extra padded protection.
- Dont overpack your bag. This is how I lost my first iPad screens. It was sat in a full bag and when I attached it to my bike the twisting force applied by the straps cracked the screen.
- Be sure to zip up completely. It is easy for a laptop to slide out of an open bag and fall on the floor, so pay attention.
- Be careful when putting your bag on the floor. Again, speaking from experience, the solid thud that you get when you put your bag on the floor and the first bit to hit the concrete is the corner of your laptop is not a pleasant sound.
Most of these points are common sense, but a refresher is always good.
You May Like: How To Manually Reset Hp Laptop
Set Up Location Finding
Enabling a location-finding service can be a great help if you ever lose your laptop, either because you are distracted or it is stolen.
Remotely finding your laptop poses a privacy risk, as these services can track you. Therefore, it is a personal decision that is a trade-off between how much you value your laptop and how comfortable you are sharing your location. I personally dont use it, but quite a few people have had success with this kind of software.
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.
Don’t Miss: Hp Antivirus Software
How To Prevent Unauthorized Access To Folders
There are certain malicious applications that can make changes to your files and folders without your knowledge. This may include anything from encrypting these files or deleting them altogether.
In order to prevent this, Windows Defender has an in-built setting that can be enabled. Users can do this via the Security Dashboard:
After turning on Controlled folder access, you can see whether any applications have tried to make changes to a folder. This can be done by clicking the Block history option.
Furthermore, if you want to allow a trusted application to make changes to your folders, you can add it as an exception via the Allow an app through Controlled folder access option.
Keep Your School Laptop Protected With Cases From Higher Ground
Laptops and Chromebooks enhance the learning experience. Preserve the safety and security of these devices with protective laptop cases from Higher Ground. Our protective Chromebook cases and laptop covers offer unbeatable strength, convenience and portability. For nearly 20 years, our laptop cases for kids have given schools and students affordable peace of mind. We are dedicated to providing the best protection for your two most important investments â technology and education. Browse our selection of laptop cases for schools or contact us today to learn more.
Read Also: No Credit Laptops
Disable Booting From Cd Or Usb
But running these involves booting the computer from a CD or USB stick, so you can increase security by disabling the ability to boot from one of these devices. This can be done by altering the settings in your laptop’s basic input/output system the built-in software with generic code to control the machine which can usually be accessed by pressing F1, F4, F10 or Del just after you switch it on.
To ensure that no-one can override these settings, password-protect the BIOS so that no more changes can be made to it without entering the password. This can also be configured in the BIOS settings.
Best Ways To Keep Your Pc Secure
Modern PCs are now pretty much synonymous with the internet, and the internet is also associated with a wild world of hackers, threats, and scams. If you know what it’s like to deal with a PC that’s in trouble because of a lack of security, you likely never want to experience it again. Even if you haven’t yet had to deal, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your PC secure if you follow these tips.
Recommended Reading: Payment Plan For Laptops
Don’t Fall Prey To Click Bait Or Phishing Scams
Part of securing your online life is being smart about what you click. Click bait doesn’t just refer to cat compilation videos and catchy headlines. It can also comprise links in email, messaging apps, and on Facebook. Phishing links masquerade as secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials. Drive-by download pages can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device.
Don’t click links in emails or text messages, unless they come from a source you trust. Even then, be cautious your trusted source might have been compromised, or the message might be a fake. The same goes for links on social media sites, even in posts that seem to be from your friends. If a post seems unlike the style of your social media buddy, it could be a hack.
For more, read our story on how to avoid phishing scams.