This blog is going to be about seven different ways that you can secure your windows computer. The advice applies if you’re a home user or a business user.
Cyber Crime is one of today’s significant threats; with everything rapidly moving online, there is also the massive threat of criminals online. Cyber Criminals pick on those with the weakest security and are therefore easier to hack. If you put the basic cyber security principles in place, you are much less likely to be hacked. This advice will also help you to attain your cyber essentials accreditation.
The first step to take is removing all Bloatware from your Windows PC. Bloatware is the term used to describe any unwanted software that comes pre-installed on your computer. When you initially buy your PC, there is always a lot of Bloatware already installed. Even if it’s straight out of the box, this is to try and get you to open and use this software to make the company more money. You can uninstall these simply by resetting the PC and reloading windows. To do this you go to settings > system > Recovery> Reset PC.
If this is a PC you’re already using and has your data on it, you must instead go to settings> apps and carefully go through all the applications on your PC. Anything that is Bloatware will spring out at you. However, be careful as some of it may be important to the function of your computer.
Leaving Bloatware on a PC without using it or maintaining it can leave software without updates, and therefore, it will become a security risk.
Software is everywhere! It is all over our computers in applications such as google chrome, Word and even Windows. It doesn’t just stop at computers; Planes, Cars and Hospitals use software too. However, the software has ‘bugs’ that need to be fixed by so-called ‘patches’ within these updates. Therefore, it would be best if you did the updates as soon as possible. Otherwise, the bugs become a security risk, and hackers will use them to install malware.
So what needs updating on your computer? The answer is everything. Suppose you take a look at Settings. You can ensure that your windows updates install and you are up to date. If an update is waiting, you should download and update your windows.
In windows 10 and 11, it will automatically update for you. However, we recommend checking.
For other software applications, you should check through any application you use and ensure that you’re always running the best software.
An administrator account is where you have full access to the computer. Admin accounts include being able to install and uninstall any applications, change settings and so on. The issue with this is that if your PC were to get hacked or malicious software (malware) were to be installed, the cybercriminal and malware also would have complete control and be able to access all areas of your computer. Carrying out day-to-day tasks on an Admin account would put your data at risk for no reason. It is much more secure to use a non-admin account daily and only use the admin account for situations when administrator access is required.
So how can we do this? It would help if you had to open your settings>accounts>other users.
Click ‘add account’ and then ‘I don’t have this person’s sign in’ followed by ‘Add a user without a Microsoft account’. Then you must name it, create a password, and answer all the security questions.
Once you create this account, you need to click on the downward arrow, change the account type to administrator and finish by changing your daily budget to a standard account. The process now means that the version you would typically use no longer has admin access, and the new one does.
To switch between the accounts, you need to log out and log into the new admin account as necessary.
Standard accounts need to be at least 8 characters long as well as be complex, such as using characters like ! or @
Admin accounts should have passwords with at least 12 characters and are very complex. When it comes to managing passwords, tools such as Keeper Security are excellent at managing your passwords.
Files appear in your download folder when you download any file onto your computer. This issue is that malicious files are designed to run in your downloads folder automatically. Preventing these files from running provides an added layer of protection against malware.
‘AskAdmin’ is a free tool you download onto your computer; This will appear in your downloads, which you will then move or copy and paste into your documents folder. Then begin to run the software.
Once the tool is open, you need to ‘add folder’ and select ‘downloads.’
Adding the downloads folder tells AskAdmin to block anything from running within it, so all of your files need to be moved into different folders to run.
It may seem like a pointless extra step, but it could save your data from being stolen and you from being hacked.
Windows comes with free malware protection within your settings. Just go to privacy and security>windows security> virus and threat protection. To have all of the new security fixed and ensure protection against the latest threats, you need your malware protection to download daily. You also need to ensure it scans daily. There is another windows security protection called ‘reputation-based protection’; This has a ‘SmartScreen’ feature that clocks any malicious activity detected on websites.
We also recommend having external security, such as Sophos Intercept x advanced and Heimdal, as both of these applications are excellent products.
Bitlocker is a free application that encrypts your computer hard drive. Bitlocker is crucial because it prevents cybercriminals from reading any data as long as it is enabled. You can do this by Searching ‘BitLocker’ on your computer, going to ‘manage BitLocker and then turning on BitLocker.
It will then ask you where to find your recovery Key. The recovery key is essential because if you lose it, you will also lose access to all of your encrypted data on your hard drive.
Those are our 7 tips to secure your windows computer. Be sure to implement them as it will improve your cyber security posture.