Whether your laptop is used for leisure or work, you should take extra precautions to ensure its contents are safe and secure. Nowadays, many computer hackers are focused on breaking into your laptop and gaining illegal entry to your personal data. You need to be proactive in protecting the sensitive information on your laptop.
When it comes to technology, nothing is ever completely secure. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks and reduce your vulnerabilities as much as possible. Here is a guide on how to secure your laptop from most virtual threats.
1. Install A firewall
A firewall is a program that protects a digital device from unauthorized access into a private network. Installing a firewall is basically like hiring a virtual security guard for your laptop. The firewall creates a virtual barrier between a computer and any unauthorized program that tries to install itself through the Internet. When the firewall detects any unauthorized efforts to access your system, you will be notified.
There are two types of firewalls: a software firewall and a hardware firewall. While a software firewall is installed locally on a device, a hardware firewall is more of an external router. For laptops, a software firewall is more suitable. Having a firewall installed is always the first step to securing your laptop.
2. Install Antivirus Software
Installing antivirus software is another great way to protect your laptop. The antivirus protects your laptop from any unauthorized code that has infiltrated into the system. Having unauthorized code on the laptop means your personal information can be accessed without approval, and even deleted if that’s the intention. It could also lead to slower processing speeds and unanticipated glitches within your system.
The antivirus software protects common threats such as Trojans, key loggers, worms, and other predictable yet dangerous viruses. Even if you have a virus-free system, the antivirus is useful for protecting your laptop from future attacks. It scans every piece of incoming information and blocks any threat once detected.
Many of the best laptops will already come with the latest antivirus software licensed and installed on new devices. Once the antivirus software is turned permanently on, your laptop will receive real-time protection coverage against any incoming viruses and cyberattacks.
3. Use Complex Passwords
A login password is usually the first line of defense in a laptop’s security. The strength of your password can make all the difference. Make sure you have a strong and complex password that is difficult to guess. When setting your password, avoid going for obvious answers like your birthday, the name of your better half, or even your cat’s name.
Some tools enable hackers to break easy passwords in a matter of minutes. Studies have shown that a six-character password with lowercase letters can be bypassed in six minutes or less. The strongest passwords will consist of no less than eight characters. There should also be a combination of letters and numbers, lower-case and upper-case characters, and at least one special character.
4. Keep Up With Security Updates
Sometimes, security and software updates can seem like an annoyance. However, staying on top of these regular updates is really important. Other than adding extra features, these updates cover security holes that may have developed recently. Whenever you receive a notification about updating your system or software, do not ignore it. In most cases, you can opt to run the update immediately, or set a scheduler to do so at a later time.
5. Encrypt Your Hard Drive
Whether your laptop contains your life’s work or files with sentimental value, it’s worth protecting that information. This type of information is usually stored on the hard drive, which can easily be removed from one laptop and attached to another. Doing this will bypass any account password protection and give someone access to all your data.
To prevent this from happening, encrypt your laptop’s hard drive. An encrypted drive can only be accessed once the encryption key is supplied. The key can be in the form of a password, PIN, or USB stick.
6. Use A VPN
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way to step up your laptop’s security, especially when browsing online. A VPN encodes your Internet traffic and redirects it via an intermediary server situated in a separate location. This will mask your IP and replace it with a different one, so your ISP won’t be able to monitor your activity anymore.
7. Minimize Spam
We encounter a lot of annoying spam messages in our day-to-day lives. Whether these are advertisements for adult entertainment websites or poorly worded messages with suspicious links, spam emails are a part of our online lives. Sometimes, even opening a spam email can lead to harmful viruses and bugs attaching themselves to your laptop.
The best way to protect against spam is to keep changing e-mail addresses. This may not be feasible if you do a lot of work online and need one dedicated email for your clients. If you have some flexibility when it comes to changing emails, you can create dummy accounts or aliases to keep the spammers off your scent. There are numerous programs and email services that will allow you to do this with little trouble.
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