Windows is one of the best software choices when it comes to security. However, that doesn’t mean you can lay back and assume that the safety of your device and your data is a given. There are many great security features on Windows devices right out of the box, but you need to make sure that everything’s up and running and also take some extra precautions. We’ve put together a short security guide for your Windows PC. Follow all tips below if you want your PC to be as secure as possible.
Is Windows 11 more secure than Windows 10?
Microsoft recently released a brand new version of Windows – Windows 11. While it comes with many design improvements, is it any more secure than Windows 10? Well, Windows 11 is only compatible with advanced hardware. For instance, it requires an 8-gen Intel Core processor, Secure Boot support, and at least 4GB of RAM. Because of these hardware requirements, any device that is running Windows 11 is more secure than an older device running Windows 10. However, it’s still very important to follow security tips to amp up the security of your Windows device even more.
9 security tips for your Windows device
1. Make your passwords strong
Please never neglect your password security. Passwords are the first thing that hackers will focus on if they choose to target you. What does a strong password mean? Ideally, one that looks gibberish. Avoid using easy words and phrases, and make your passwords as long and as weird-looking as possible. Consider using a special cybersecurity tool to generate your passwords for you.
2. Get an antivirus
Windows has a built-in antivirus software (the Microsoft Defender Antivirus), so you should check to make sure it’s enabled. An antivirus is an important security component of a business’s network because it helps keep malware out and detect it as soon as it enters a system.
3. Get a firewall
Windows also has a built-in firewall (Windows Defender Firewall). It won’t hurt to check if it’s enabled as well. With the Windows Defender Firewall helps protect your devices from outsider access, and you can set special rules regarding who can access your device and which traffic you want to restrict from entering it.
4. Turn off automatic login
When you create a new user account on your Windows PC, your device automatically logs in to that account once you turn it on. This may be convenient because you don’t need to enter a password every time you turn on your device. But if you have important data on your device and have people around it a lot (for example, because you take it out in public), you want that data stored securely behind a login password. Disable automatic login if you haven’t already, and set a strong login password.
5. Turn on auto-updates
We all love to ignore update alerts and click “later” day after day, but you need to ensure that your device is on the most secure version of Windows at all times. The reason why you get update alerts so often (and not just when the newest version of Windows comes out with design tweaks) is that they feature crucial security fixes. So now is the time to go check for updates!
6. Avoid unnecessary third-party apps
Not all third-party apps are secure. First off, make sure that you only download from official stores and websites. Hackers might sometimes create fake app downloads and use them to infect your PC with malware. However, even if the third-party app is legit, it might not be very secure, putting all data connected to that app at risk.
7. Use BitLocker encryption
BitLocker is a built-in Windows security tool that encrypts your PC’s data and protects it from unauthorized access. Encrypting your data means blocking it from any outsider who may try to hack your device and steal your data. As soon as Bitlocker detects anything suspicious going on in your system, it will ask for your recovery key (a 48-digit code that only the rightful owner of the PC has access to).
8. Use a secure browser
You send so much important data through your browser, so it needs to be secure. Some browsers are more secure than others, but it also greatly depends on how you choose to use them. Keeping your browser updated is just as important as keeping your software updated, so set auto-updates right away. Also, be careful when choosing a browser and opt for one that can block pop-ups and detect unsecured websites, such as Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
9. Educate yourself
How can you protect your device if you don’t know the threats you’re facing? Make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest prevailing threats in the cyber arena. For example, phishing schemes (especially COVID-related phishing schemes) have been spiking in popularity ever since the pandemic hit. It’s very important to know how to spot phishing schemes, and the only way to do so is by educating yourself. A couple more big threats (which may be more relevant to companies) are ransomware and DDoS attacks.
So yes, Windows is a pretty secure operating system. But without following the 9 tips mentioned above, you won’t be getting that much use from the built-in security. It won’t take up much time to review your passwords, adjust your default security settings, and educate yourself on the main threats you’re facing, but it will be more than worth it.