This article was contributed by Cynthia Madison who works as an author at SmallBizClub.com.
If you make a mistake with Windows, you leave the front door open for hackers. Malicious actors can use that weakness to exploit the computer. They'll be able to hijack your login credentials, steal your money and open credit cards in your name, abuse your national insurance number, or sell your information to other parties.
Computer hackers can target anyone. They target anyone who they believe is weak and could bring them easy financial gain. It doesn't take much effort or resources to ensure success. Even if you haven't dealt with a cyber incident, it's better to keep your PC safe.
All operating systems are vulnerable to hackers, but the risks can be reduced significantly if you adopt basic security measures. Keep in mind that you're the weakest part of the computer security system. You should be the strongest component of all. Follow these tips to protect your computer and safeguard sensitive data.
Make Sure Windows Defender Is Working
There's no need to download Windows Defender Antivirus because it's installed by default on Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11. It comes with a firewall, drive-level encryption, and even a game mode. Windows Defender protects against malicious websites, blocking exploits and network-based attacks. You can secure your device against web threats and regulate unwanted content.
So, you'll have peace of mind knowing that there's a barrier between you and disaster. You can manually virus/malware scan your PC by using the Scan now button on the home screen. When the scan is complete, you'll see the results.
See if Windows Defender is on or off. It has a small shield icon that can be found in the taskbar. In the earlier versions of Windows, you must look for a castle icon. If the app is turned off, you'll see a cross (X). If it's running, there won't be any cross.
All you have to do to launch Windows Defender is to click on the icon. If the app is turned on but you see a lot of red, this means Windows Defender requires an update. Microsoft constantly updates security intelligence to cover the latest threats and improve detection accuracy.
Update Your PC To Windows 11
If you want to enjoy better security, don't waste any more time and update your PC to Windows 11. Windows 11 requires Trusted Platform Module, a technology that is designed to offer hardware-based, security-related functions.
It stores encryption keys, passwords, and certificates. When the computer is powered up, the Trusted Platform Module authenticates it. More exactly, it provides a key that unlocks the encrypted device. If the key is validated, the PC will boot up as normal.
Let's not forget about the Hypervisor-Protect Code Integrity, referred to as Memory Integrity. It guarantees that the Windows kernel – the brain of the OS – isn't compromised. Sensitive processes are protected against the injection of malicious code.
What is more, HVCI protects Windows from drivers and apps that misbehave, maybe due to a security flaw exploit. According to Microsoft, it's recommended to have an 8th gen or above Intel and Zen 2 or above AMD CPU. You have a much-needed layer of protection that limits the damage caused by malware getting past your antivirus software.
Install a VPN to Protect Your Privacy
As a Windows user, you must stay vigilant for malware and other cyber threats. It's time to add a VPN to your toolkit. VPNs from reputable providers are reliable. If the VPN should stop working, your connection to the Internet will automatically be cut off. If you need a VPN for personal use, look for an app that allows for multiple simultaneous connections so that the whole household is safe.
If you just want to stream music, get a VPN with high speed and unlimited bandwidth. Above all, make sure the VPN is available for Windows. If you have a Windows computer but use an iPhone, the VPN should have a platform and app for both.
Use Complex Passwords to Beat the Hackers
A data breach can compromise your sensitive information. While you can't prevent such incidents, you can protect yourself online. With malicious actors threatening big corporations and technology companies (and the apps on your phone), your personal data is at risk. Simple passwords allow intruders to gain access and control of your PC.
On the flip side, passwords that are hard to guess deter hackers from breaking into your computer. A strong password looks like a string of random characters. Memorize the password and don't use it anywhere else. If you do this, you give cybercriminals the chance to access your entire digital life.
You can claim compensation from a company if they've lost your sensitive data. A data breach can expose you to financial and personal damages. Save correspondence with your bank, the website where the breach occurred, and confirmation that you saved your passwords. It's been several years since the GDPR has been enacted.
In the UK, monetary penalties are decided by the judge hearing the case. They'll take into account how serious the infringement was and, most importantly, its impact on you. if you fail to demonstrate you've suffered any damage or distress, the court won't award you compensation. As a matter of fact, you'll have to pay the other party's costs.
If You Hold Sensitive Data on The Hard Drive, Encrypt It
If your computer gets stolen and the files aren't encrypted, anyone can easily access the information. Even if you've deleted stuff, people can still recover the files from your hard drive. Owing to encryption, you can protect yourself from this invasion of privacy. Every version of Windows has access to BitLocker, which improves file and system protection.
It's enabled by default. However, if BitLocker is turned off, go to the search bar and find Manage BitLocker. Once it has finished checking your computer, you can create a password or physical key. Don't worry as there are no additional licensing costs. The cost for it is built into the cost of Windows.
About the author
Cynthia Madison is an author at SmallBizClub.com with a solid technical, business, and financial foundation. She's responsible for providing share-worthy articles that deliver value straight to the point. Cynthia enjoys watching thought-provoking TED talks on technology advancements in her spare time. She lives a “never stop learning” life.