How to Improve Online Security on Laptops

In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in cybercrimes, as hackers steal sensitive data worldwide and fraudsters find clever ways to scam people online. This article provides a few simple measures that can improve online security on laptops, from antivirus and firewall setups to virtual private networks.

So, let’s start with increasing your authentication. Your whole life is basically on your laptop – this includes all of your financial data, social data, and professional files. The importance of online security measures goes without saying, and putting multi-factor authentication into place basically means that hackers, even if they have your log-in details, won’t be able to get into your accounts.

YubiKeys, which are basically hard tokens, also add an extra layer of security for your laptop. The YubiKey is plugged into your laptop, and with this, you can authenticate and authorize web logins.  You can use these security devices to log in without your password or in addition to your password. Companies like Google fully support authentication via the YubiKey. Criminals cannot copy or hack YubiKeys, but they must be kept in your possession.

DO:

Use YubiKeys, verification apps, and other hard authentication tokens to sign in.

Consider using biometric authentication when it is practical; this can be fingerprint scanning or face recognition.

DON’T:

Rely only on SMS codes or passwords to protect your accounts.

Rely on security questions and the answers you provide; they are far too easy for people to guess

Next is Virtual Private Networks.

Confirmed by specialists as one of the most trusted VPN providers, CyberGhost VPN offers strong server encryption and complete online anonymity, apart from not keeping a record of browsing activity. 

DO:

Choose a VPN to secure your laptop when using public networks.

Invest in privacy equipment for your laptop, like webcam covers and special screens.

DON’T:

Leave your webcam uncovered while you’re not using it.

Pick a “no logs” policy VPN 

Graphic from here

Another thing you could do to improve your security on your laptop is to encrypt your hard drive and back up your data. Out of all the suggestions, this is the strongest step you could take to defend yourself and your laptop against theft and attacks from cybercriminals.

Encryption is the best form of protection you can get for your laptop. Passwords alone do not,  unfortunately, guarantee protection. Thieves can directly read your data when they remove the hard drive from your laptop, whereas cybercriminals and hackers can infiltrate your system via the login screen of your OS (operating system).

Whatever options you decide to use, backing up your data regularly, especially after creating new files or documentation you can’t really afford to lose. For maximum protection, encrypting your hard drive is, again, a sensible thing to do.

DO:

Encrypt your hard drive.

Regularly back up data, ensure the backups are also encrypted

Keep your encryption keys in a separate place to where you keep your laptop.

DON’T:

Forget to or postpone backing up your files, particularly with important work underway.

Leave your hard drive or backups unencrypted.

Use Secure Passwords

One of the most obvious things you can do to help secure your laptop, of course, is to set complex passwords. Whilst we would never recommend relying on passwords alone, they’re a fantastic place to start when it comes to the improvement of your laptop security.

Using a password when you log in is necessary and will stop other people from accessing your files when you first boot-up your new laptop. If you use your laptop in public places frequently, then set a password on your lock screen is another idea. Obviously, any password you set should be hard to guess and unique to you, a combination of numbers, symbols, letters, or even full sentences or phrases. Try and avoid birthdays, pet names, or family member names; they are far too easy for hackers to guess.

DO:

Set a unique and hard-to-guess passphrase or password for your laptop for when you first log in.

Set a password for your screensaver.

Try and use single sign-on methods.

DON’T:

Use the same password for every account you have.

Share your password with anyone.

Use auto remember features; they are easily hackable.

Improve Laptop Security

Finally, you could also look at ways to improve your laptop’s physical security. Again, this one sounds a bit obvious, but physical security for laptops involves keeping a close eye on your device.

It is far too easy for someone to steal your laptop from your hotel room, car, airport, or local cafe. Common sense dictates that you should never leave your laptop unattended in public places or where your location isn’t secure.

DO:

Try to keep your laptop secure with a lockable cable.

Use a laptop cover.

Use reputable location-tracking software.

DON’T:

Leave laptops unlocked and unattended.

Use unreliable software that tracks your laptop’s location.

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