Windows offers near-unlimited potential for users everywhere. macOS is great, mind you, but Microsoft’s “open garden” philosophy versus Apple’s “walled garden” philosophy makes it hard to use macOS. And in an age where almost everyone is connected to their devices one way or another, it’s important they do everything they can do on each device.
But where Windows fails in comparison to macOS is security. With people being on their devices every day, cybercriminals have a plethora of targets to choose from. And Windows? Well, the base security of the OS isn’t that great. Far from it. Fortunately, there are ways Windows users can secure themselves and their devices.
5 Cybersecurity Tips for Windows Users
All of the tips mentioned below are 100% novice friendly. Even if you know little about Windows, you’ll be able to implement all of these tips without a second thought. So, without further ado, let’s talk about how you can improve your Windows security.
1. Use a VPN
One thing that a Windows computer is likely to hate more than viruses are unsecured, full of holes, public networks. In other words, unencrypted networks. Despite offering a convenient, quick-and-easy way of connecting to the internet, public networks open the doors for potential cybercrime due to the way they’re constructed.
Public networks are accessible to everyone. This means there’s no way to blacklist certain devices until that device has been recognized as a threat. This, in turn, means that cybercriminals can hack and infiltrate other users on the same public network.
To avoid this, download a PC VPN which will help you encrypt your device’s data and hide your IP address. Such a tool will make your presence on the network non-existent. To outsiders, your online activity will stay invisible, hidden away from everyone else. In order to protect your privacy and personal data, VPNs are a must-have when using public networks.
2. Update Your Software
Developers are constantly playing a game of catch-up with hackers and cybercriminals. See, cybercriminals are always creating new scams, new viruses, new malware, and new overall dangers, meaning developers must keep an eye for these new tricks and patch software to protect against it.
As a result, many software updates for Windows and its various programs often contain security fixes. Not downloading these opens you up to more security threats, so, in a nutshell, always update your software. And do it often!
3. Keep Local Backups of your Data
Cloud-based storage solutions are convenient, easy-to-use, and require little-to-no input from the user. From a security standpoint, however, cloud-based storage solutions are found lacking.
The main concern lies in encryption. Most cloud-based storage solutions encrypt data while storing it, but where the encryption key is depends on the service, and it’s not always in a secure place.
If you’re wary about cloud-based storage, you could always keep local backups of your data on an external hard drive or SSD. This not only keeps your data in your hands only, but it makes sure a server outage won’t kill your data.
4. Disable Location and Location-Based Software
It’s shocking how many apps track your location while in use—some programs continue tracking you after you close the app! Remember, practicing proper cybersecurity doesn’t just involve fighting cybercriminals, but corporations themselves.
Corporations like Google and Microsoft will track you all day long if you let them, collecting bits and pieces of your information. Be sure to take some time and disable location services for your entire device.
5. Uninstall Bloatware
Bloatware is software that comes pre-installed on your machine when you first receive it. Companies like HP, Dell, and Lenovo love installing bloatware onto machines. Unfortunately, bloatware not only becomes an annoyance for users, but it also becomes a security risk as well.
This is because bloatware often connects to servers in the background, exposing your data to potential cybercriminals on your network. To avoid this, uninstall any bloatware you can. For some manufacturers, you may have to do a fresh reinstall of Windows. Just a warning!
Cybersecurity is an important aspect of using on the Internet—an aspect many ignore. Don’t ignore it. Without proper cybersecurity etiquette, your Windows device—and as a result, you—will be exposed to cyber-threats from every corner of the Internet.