I’ve been a Windows user ever since I first learned of the existence of computer systems. This was back in the 90s when I was fresh out of high school. And the Microsoft revolution was well on its way towards a complete market dominance. Having already entrenched itself in Americans’ homes, schools and workplaces. But one thing I learned earlier on was that Windows systems are pretty vulnerable. To the threat of viruses, hackers, malware, bots, Trojans…you name it! A big reason why I recently signed-up for a Frontier internet service plan. Because even though I have separate antivirus utilities at hand, some extra online protection never hurts.
Not when you have some experience in playing hardball with all kinds of cybercriminals.
Windows: The Most Popular OS in the World
Since most people all over the world use Windows PCs, the operating system (OS) attracts the largest share of hackers of any software company. Assaults from expert coders and software designers who, for a variety of reasons, want to invade unsuspecting systems. These can be computers used both privately and publicly. And by large government organizations with huge databanks.
After stealing confidential information from a breached system, hackers can make many demands. For extortion/ransom money, further access, or full-on system control.
So to avoid this fate, being on your guard is important. Especially if you’re a Windows user who may also be technologically challenged.
My Top Ten List of Windows PC Protection Tips (Disregard at Your Own Peril!)
Lucky for you, I’ve got the battle all figured out.
Since I knew that I had to fend off for myself, I started reading up on cybersecurity blogs early. And my research helped me to narrow down on a list of tactics. Long & short-term safeguards, if you will, that can keep you protected from any attack.
But before you go and make use of these pointers, you need to know something. A fact. Something that every cyber-security expert will tell you – should you probe the matter deep enough!
This is the point that no matter what you do, you’ll always have to contend against the next wily hacker to emerge. So there’s really no way to guarantee foolproof (100 percent) protection.
Putting the Odds in Your Favor
But you can stack the odds in your favor.
If you choose to invest some interest in my protection tips, that is.
These (without any further ado) are listed as follows:
- Update Microsoft Security Essentials Regularly
- Reduce non-HTTPS Site Visits
- Use ONLY Secure Flash/USB Drives
- Stay Away from Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
- Don’t Let Strangers Use Your Devices
- Lock Your System’s Hard Drive
- Use Strong Password Combinations
- Never Open Suspicious Email Attachments
- Upgrade to the Latest Hardware
- Use Multilayer Encryption
Some of these safety points are quite self-explanatory. And so I won’t go into elaborate details of these.
But a few of the more ‘tricky ones’ deserve some explanation.
Which you’ll find in this section.
Update Microsoft Security Essentials Regularly
MSE is the built-in antivirus solution that comes with every new Windows PC. And in my opinion, this tool provides pretty terrific all-around system protection. But it does have some firewall failings. Because of which you’ll fare much better by installing a separate security software.
McAfee and Norton Antivirus Suites are good subscription choices on this front.
Alternatively, you can make do with an internet plan which comes with its own server-ended protection. I’ve already mentioned one at the beginning of this piece.
Reduce non-HTTPS Site Visits
These are the sites which don’t operate their own SSL security certificates. Because of this shortcoming, they are risky platforms for conducting electronic transactions. Especially those which involve the transfer of credit & debit card numbers. As well as other sensitive pin codes.
Recently, the Google Chrome web browser started limiting access to non-HTTPS sites. It does this by displaying a pop-up window with a cautionary message. An inscription which basically warns surfers to proceed at their own risk.
Because of this, many site owners have ‘enthusiastically’ hopped onto the SSL bandwagon. But a few are still behind the times. And you need to be wary of their portals.
Lock Your System’s Hard Drive
You can easily do this by setting up a password during your PCs reboot cycle. A locked hard drive puts an added layer of protection against any physical hacking attempts. And when it’s combined with a Window’s lock, you’ll cut the risk of unauthorized access by at least 90%.
That’s a pretty good bet, no matter how you look at it.
Many new Acer, HP and Sony laptops come with built-in device locking features. These are pretty stringent checks, which can stop most hackers dead in their tracks.
Use Lengthy, Multilayer Encryption
Multilayer encryption refers to the use of password combos that feature different character sequences.
A good password, in this sense, is one which uses:
- Long strings of letters
- Special Characters
And if you didn’t already know this, lengthier passwords are better. This is because they are harder for malicious humans and software tools to crack.
Using special characters, it’s always best to form word sequences that only make sense to you. Based on my own experience in locking-up my Frontier FiOS account, I can recommend this without any doubt. My set passwords are so stringent, in fact, that it I often end up forgetting them myself. Which, of course, defeats the whole purpose.