Today I will be guiding you through how to secure your machines using built in tools and settings. By default, we expect our computers to be quite safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We always hear in the news how Microsoft updated they operating system to be more safe or how Apple managed to patch up new vulnerabilities. The thing is that many of these security patches are directed towards the core kernel of the system. It remains up to the user to make sure the settings are turned on and firewall is properly configured. Following paragraphs will be discussing how to secure your Windows 10 machine and make full use of out of the box security features. For MacOS and Ubuntu, I will write similar guides in the following weeks.
Windows is the most popular operating system out there. Teachers, corporations, military and many other groups of people in plethora sectors are using Microsoft’s operating system to deliver services, keep nations military systems armed, and pretty much anything else. For an average user or a small business owner, your work computer is the basis of your business/life. Let’s explore together the tools available to us that can help us fortify our computers.
Enable Automatic Updates:
We all hate those untimely updates that hinder our daily activities but nevertheless they are critical to keeping your system safe from unwanted attacks and malware.
By navigating to Start > Settings > Update and security > Advances options, set the option to automatic.
This way you are sure to receive all the necessary security patches from Microsoft. Many often downplay the importance of updates and quickly rush to disable this feature.
Out Of The Box Anti-Virus:
Windows operating system comes with a out of the box anti-virus called Windows Defender. It is often overlooked due to its simplistic features. But do not let that fool you, it is a great tool that can help you stay safe and maintain a healthy system while you surf the web or download files.
By navigating to Start > Settings > Update and security > Windows Defender (on the left panel), set real time protection to on.
With Microsoft’s latest updates, Windows Defender has gotten much better of the past years. Many users have reported to have relied solely on Windows Defender and have had safe and healthy systems.
Now, firewall is what blocks incoming or outgoing connections. It is a very strong networking tool that can be beneficial if set up properly or detrimental. Below I describe an easy way to setup the Windows Firewall that will limit suspicious/dangerous connections.
Click on Start and type “Firewall” in the search bar to find the settings page. After navigating to that page, you will either see red crosses or green check marks. If you see red crosses, turn on your firewall by switching it to on.
Your next step should be to edit the “Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall” list. It contains a list of applications that you will either allow or block to pass through the firewall on either private or public networks. This way you can be sure what applications are able to access your system and connect with outside servers. Some malicious applications can be sending your private information to outside servers or vice versa.
Some other things you can try changing are:
- Encrypting your disks: This protects data stored on your drives from being stolen and deciphered.
- Sharing Options: In Network and Sharing Center, you will find Advanced Sharing Settings. Disable all kinds of sharing options and permissions to deny sending out any kind of access to your computer and other connected devices.
- Change Privacy Settings: In settings, find a page called Privacy. Then disable all kinds of privacy options to restrict applications and Microsoft from collecting and sending your information.
- Use Task Manager Monitoring: Use Task Manager to monitor your resource usage such as CPU, RAM and Network. Try to learn what process you are running and understand their patterns to avoid any resource misallocation or quickly identify unauthorized processes.
This is it for today, Windows 10 users. Stay safe out there and always keep your systems up to date! Installing extra anti-virus programs for specific requirements such as internet traffic control or malware detection is always recommended.