With cyber threats growing rapidly in the last few years, you need to ensure that you are not a cybercrime target. In fact, cybercrime has gone up by 600% due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in such a scenario, you need to be more cautious when it comes to the security measures you adopt for your personal computer. Let’s look at the following proactive security steps that every Windows user should take.
1) Use a VPN while accessing the internet
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to be secure while communicating over the internet. A VPN creates a private tunnel for you to access the internet. As a result, everything you send over this private channel is encrypted, protecting you from cyber criminals. However, even though use of a PC VPN does not guarantee your safety and privacy, it does prevent people from snooping on your internet activity.
2) Disable Windows 10 auto-login
Whenever you set up a computer with Windows 10, you need to create a user account. Your new account is set to log in automatically by default at system startup. While this may not be an issue of concern if you are working from home or don’t access sensitive data. However, if you travel with a laptop from an airport, a co-working space, or a coffee shop, you may be setting yourself up for data theft. So, one of the first things you should do is disable auto-login on your computer.
3) Enable auto-updates for Windows
It is vital for you to update your version of Windows regularly. You may expose yourself to security risks if you skip Windows updates. Keep in mind that some security patches that Microsoft releases as part of an update may be critical fixes that will protect your system from a new kind of cyberattack or malware. In fact, the best way to ensure that you don’t miss out on installing critical updates is by enabling auto-updates for Windows.
4) Disable remote access
Windows 10 comes with the Windows Remote Desktop feature that allows you or other persons to connect to your system remotely. Remote access lets a third party control all operations on your computer in a similar way to how they would if they were directly operating it. However, hackers find it easy to exploit Windows Remote Desktop. In cyberattacks, criminals have gained control of remote systems, stolen information, and installed malware. Even though this feature is disabled by default, you may forget to disable it after enabling it for some reason. It is essential for you to keep this remote desktop access feature turned off unless you are actually using it or have given someone else remote access to your system.
5) Keep your antivirus software running
Windows 10 comes with in-built tools that help safeguard you from malicious code and viruses. In fact, Windows 10 Enterprise edition includes the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. It helps monitor endpoints like Windows 10 computers with the help of behavioral sensors. However, you may also opt to switch off your in-built Windows antivirus and malware protection tool and install a 3rd party antivirus software altogether. What’s important is ensuring that the antivirus and anti-malware software are updated regularly and run in the background.
6) Keep your firewall enabled
Windows 10 comes with a personal firewall that is enabled by default. Windows Firewall is a built-in security system that helps prevent unauthorized access to your computer. You can check whether your firewall is on by going to “Control Panel,” then selecting “System and Security,” then clicking on “Windows Defender Firewall,” and turning it on if, for some reason, it is disabled.