Gone are the days when computer security, by definition, was something very hard.
Now, even the simplest and smallest security measures can go a long way in effectively keeping the user’s device safe and sound.
The security measures today do not take a long time to start working and they are easy to implement.
That is the reason why we think that no online consumer now has an excuse to not put at least some security measures in place.
In this guide, we will not discuss the big security habits that all online consumers should start training for.
Everybody knows tips such as,
- backing up one’s data
- using strong passwords
- updating the operating system regularly
These security measures are what some would call ‘obvious’ security measures.
While we are aware of the fact that some users might need help in implementing them as well, in this guide, we will take a look at ten additional security tips which are specific to the Windows operating system that users can deal with in a matter of minutes.
Windows security tip 1: Make sure Windows Defender is on
Some our readers might have the good memory to recall that in the early days of the internet not too long ago, a given user needed to download and install a solid antivirus security application and then configure it as well before he/she could even think about hooking the machine up to the wider world of the web.
However, Windows has changed now.
Nowadays, users find that their life is a lot easier than before.
In other words, Microsoft Windows now comes with its very own set of security tools which not only work but are also competent.
One of those security tools is Windows Defender.
Users have the option of installing a third-party software package if they really feel like doing so for extra protection.
However, our research shows that at the very least the user must ascertain the fact that his/her machine has an activated Windows Defender which is not only set to ON but also configured properly.
The only fortunate thing here is that the people behind Windows know that some users will remain absent-minded no matter what.
And that is why Windows now flashing up a prominent warning message for the user if it detects that the user’s machine does not have any antivirus software application installed and the built-in Windows Defender is also set to OFF.
So the first thing that users should do is to go to the Windows Settings menu.
They can do that by clicking on the Start Menu button and then clicking the cog icon which appears on the left-hand side.
After that, the user must pick the option that says Open Windows Security.
Our research shows that in an upcoming official sandbox update the Windows operating system would acquire the ability to keep all the potentially harmful software applications even further away from the user’s computer system via isolation.
Microsoft has said that the company will roll out the new feature in the very near future.
Windows security tip 2: Always audit the web browser
No one needs another reminder of how web browsers have transformed from clunky pieces of software to essentially the only window for online consumers to the world of the internet.
There is no doubt about the fact that modern online consumers spend the maximum amount of time on their web browsers rather than operating systems.
That means it is very important now to secure one’s web browser before anything else.
In other words, online consumers must make sure that they keep their web browsers up to date at any given moment in time.
Thanks to some clever developers it is more easy to do than ever.
The majority of the online web browsers not handle updates on their own automatically and also behind the scenes so that users have an easier time keeping safe.
Apart from that, online consumers now also have to keep an eye out on the plug-ins and add-ons that they install.
Plug-ins and add-ons are nothing but extra programs that bring with them extra security problems because they have access to each and everything that the user can potentially do inside the web browser environment.
Hence, users should not have anything in that department which is suspicious, redundant and/or unwanted.
In order to move forward, the user should make sure that he/she runs a regular routine of add-on checkup in order to ensure that he/she has only installed those add-ons which are trustworthy and essential.
When it comes to Google Chrome, all that users need to do is to click on the More Tools option and then the Extensions option in order to access all add-ons from the Chrome menu.
Users who make use of Mozilla Firefox as their number 1 web browser should click the option which is under Add-ons one they have made it inside the browser’s main menu.
Lastly, users of Microsoft Edge, need to first go the browser menu and then pick the option that says Extensions.
Modern web browsers allow users to disable and also uninstall add-ons and plug-ins that they do not want in their web browser with the help of nothing but a couple of clicks.
Windows Security Tip 3: Exercise caution when downloading something from the internet.
Remaining on the topic of web browsers, modern users should exercise great caution when it comes to downloading and installing ‘things’ on their computer machine.
Practically speaking, users should stick to popular and well-known applications as much as possible and only download them from the official websites and/or Microsoft Store.
Users who want to install something that is very obscure and not available on Microsoft Store, should run a short and sweet web search in order to check the given software application’s credentials that appear on the web.
Online consumers should also pay attention instead of mindlessly clicking through the given software application installation wizards.
In other words, get rid of the habit of clicking the Next button again and again until the installation wizard reaches its final phase.
Otherwise ,such users run the risk of ending up with something more than usual on their machines.
And if there is one thing that online consumers should stay away from, it is dubious programs and applications.
Our research shows that it is also a good practice to regularly clear out and remove applications and programs that are not in use anymore.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that whenever a given user pirates some software and/or other types of media such as audio files and/or movies, he/she should know that downloading from less than reputable sources leaves him/her vulnerable to viruses and malware.
Our research shows users who simply cannot live without stuff that is, in some senses, illegal to keep, should keep such stuff to an absolute minimum.
Moreover, such users need to be wary of any and all bundled software and other packages that come as extras with illegal software applications and usually install themselves on their own.
Windows security tip 4: perform one-in-a-while check-ups on various app permissions
Staying with the topic of downloaded software, the latest edition of the Windows operating system now has the ability to handle app permissions pretty much similar to the way a given smartphone does it.
In other words, users can now see precisely what any given program has access to on the user’s computer system.
This is why we think it is more than worth it to just review all the permissions that each app has requested from time to time in order to make sure that the user’s privacy is safe and the security of the machine is maintained.
In order to get started on this, first, the user has to click on Windows Settings and then hit the Privacy option.
From there the user should be able to see the related broad app permissions that he/she has granted to various websites and applications under the tab labeled General.
With that done, the user should then dive into deep and specific permissions by working their way up on the left side on the options.
Needless to say, no app on the user’s system should have any type of access to the user’s computer camera.
Moreover, no app should have access permission to the user’s microphone without proper reason.
Most of the time the only app that should have these permissions is the one that has to enable video calls.
Another permission that the user needs to keep an eye on is Location.
Apart from that, users should know that with each given permission they can turn off access to it absolutely and completely for any and all apps.
On the other hand, users can also allow permission to a given option on an app-by-app basis with the help of toggle switches.
Windows security tip 5: Get into the habit of setting up a user password for every machine
A good portion of online consumers now makes use of auto-login facilities provided to them by their web browsers and applications.
Hence, it has become vitally important that no one is able to sit on the user’s machine/laptop and have a nice time pretending to be the owner of the machine.
It doesn’t matter if someone has broken into the user’s office or has swiped the machine from the user’s bag.
The important thing to remember here is that users must make use of Windows account passwords.
They are more important than ever before.
In other words, all Windows users must make sure that they have a strong password protecting their Windows user account regardless of the fact that no one else is using the same computer machine.
It is another matter that any user who logs in to a Windows machine with an official Microsoft account has no option other than to have a password protecting the machine.
Users who want to move forward with this should know that first, they will have to check the option via the Accounts setting which is available, in turn, via the Windows Settings.
Another important security measure that users must implement is to enable the option of the machine locking itself when they go somewhere and leave the vicinity of the machine.
After enabling this option, every time the user leaves the machine for a specified period of time, the machine would require the user to sign in again with the help of a password.
In order to enable this option, the user first has to go to the Accounts screen.
Then the user has to select the Sign-in Options.
After that, the user has to select the option that says When PC Wakes Up From Sleep which is under the heading of Require Sign-in.
While on it, we also suggest that users should set a limited sleep period which is available via Windows Settings > System > Power & Sleep.