People use the internet every day at home, at work, for entertainment, information and so on. Unfortunately, people are so busy conducting regular activities online, they tend to forget about online security risks, and how they continue to increase.
Some are not sure how to protect themselves from threats such as computer attacks, malware, and viruses. Here are 13 ways to improve security for your computer system.
1. Use a password when sharing folders
Keep your shared data protected with a password and username when allowing others access to your computer or when on a shared network. Some say you should not turn off this feature in case someone unwanted gains access to your data. This way, your data is always protected no matter who uses the network.
Homegroup is the best option if you want to share data securely with others on the network. It is a fast way to share anything you want with those you authorize. A password is needed to access the documents, and this is the only way anyone could gain access.
2. Use a password to get system out of sleep mode
When using any device with Windows, it is suggested to use a password to wake the system from sleep mode. This includes laptops, tablets, and desktops.
If your device gets lost, stolen, or you leave it unattended with others around, a person would need the password to gain access beyond sleep mode. Your information remains safe. If your device is lost or stolen, it lowers risk of someone gaining access to your information.
3. When using public Wi-Fi, use a VPN
A VPN service offers protection for Wi-Fi users that gain internet access in public. Using a public Wi-Fi connection increases the risk of personal information being swiped by hackers. The service offers protection for data transmitted to and from your device while in public.
The VPN service works as a barrier to protect personal information while it is being transmitted through public Wi-Fi. The service creates an encrypted pathway that protects data.
4. Remove software you don’t need
When consumers purchase new devices such as tablets, computers, and laptops, there is pre-installed software and apps ready to go and be used. Vendors get paid to add this stuff to the device, but many people refer to it as crapware they don’t need.
Also, think about free software programs you installed. Some may come with toolbars and browsers or related programs they install at the same time. These can have spy programs that collect information about how you use your computer.
Prevention is key to avoiding software you don’t want. When you install something while online, pay attention to what files are actually being downloaded. Select programs carefully and try to avoid the quick install option so you can really see what is being downloaded. You may answer “yes” easily to something when prompted, but pay attention as it could actually be you giving the software permission to download crapware you don’t need.
5. Use your security suite to run suspicious files
Your security suite provides a virtual machine you can use to run files. You can use this option for files you are suspicious about. The sandbox feature also offers the same purpose. You can run suspicious files while protecting your computer system. It offers protection so you don’t have to worry about making changes to system settings if the file isn’t okay.
6. Maintain system updates
Keep Windows updated with patches and security updates as they become available. You can go to the Control Panel to look for updates.
After getting the update installed to your system, keep this option checked so you can get updates anytime they are available. The updates help protect your system from security threats and new viruses. Keep security fixes installed to stay a step ahead of cyber criminals that try to take advantage of related security mishaps.
7. Make a restore point
When you install the latest update, it is a good idea to create a restore point. Creating the restore point can be done right after the latest update is completed. When you create the point, name it “Clean Installation.”
From here, you can continue adding applications and drivers. If you have problems with a driver or app after installing it, you have a restore point to go back to.
8. Gain access to your operating system with a standard account
The kind of user account you have will affect privileges and rights you have to your operating system. For instance, you may have an administrator user account or a standard user account.
A standard account is best to prevent unnecessary access to files from other users. As an administrator, you can make changes to the account as necessary and provide required credentials when prompted. The admin can make changes to security settings or download new applications.
9. Avoid Disabling the UAC (User Account Control)
When Windows operating system is installed, some may turn off the UAC. This action is not recommended by security experts.
The computer uses the UAC to monitor changes made to the system. The UAC prompts a message to appear on the screen to grant permission to any actions related to installing or uninstalling a program.
10. Do a hardware upgrade
If you want to offer better security to your system, keep your hardware updated. Basic security protection is available through the latest hardware options made with tech advancements.
BIOS, CPUs and motherboards recently manufactured will have such security built-in. Hard disk controllers with the trusted platform module (TPM) are a prime example. This helps protect against malicious downloads.
11. Have a quality firewall in place
Windows operating systems, including Windows 10, offer great firewall protection. Users of Windows 10, 8 and 7 can us the default setting. You can also get tech support assistance if necessary. A third-party firewall option can be considered if you wish, but keep in mind you only need one so your operating system doesn’t experience conflicts while running.
12. Refer to the Action Center to learn about updates
The Action Center can help you stay on top of the updates you need to conduct in order to keep your system running smoothly. You can also learn the last time your data was backed up. This feature should be left on and never turned off since notifications are helpful for keeping your system secured.
13. Use anti-malware and anti-spam software and keep it updated
Anti-spam and anti-malware software offer additional protection when you access files or download something that may seem legit. Usually, people can tell when an email or message with links is a fake due to errors in spelling, grammar, and so forth. A top threat to computer security is a trojan.
It’s important to keep in mind that prevention is key to keeping your computer safe and malware-free. Make sure your system is well-protected and always stay on guard when browsing the internet and especially when downloading and installing new software.