Ten simple steps for keeping your laptop secure

Ten simple steps for keeping your laptop secure

Ten simple steps for keeping your laptop secure

I’ve created an infographic that summarises these stages to make things easier! I’ve also divided this content into three pieces so you can focus on what matters most to you:

Essentials steps: This section compiles the four measures everyone should take to guarantee that their laptops protect their data.

Protect your privacy: This section outlines the measures you may take to improve the security of your laptop.

Increase your security: Three more precautions to take to keep your laptop safe from theft and other physical harm.

Essential steps

Everyone should follow the four procedures listed below to guarantee that their laptops can protect their data.

Ten simple steps for keeping your laptop secure

When logging in, require a password.

Requiring a login password is the most crucial step in safeguarding your laptop and preventing anyone from accessing your stuff without authorization. Make sure your password is tough to guess by not using your birthday, your cat’s name, or a loved one’s name. On macOS, here’s how to stop the login on startup automatically.

Use a password-protected screensaver.

Make sure the screensaver begins automatically and requires a password to escape so that no one can swoop in and spy if you leave your laptop alone for a few minutes. This may be done on both a Mac and a Windows PC.

Encrypt your hard drive

Password-protecting your laptop is insufficient to prevent an attacker from accessing your contents. If your laptop is taken, the attacker can remove the hard disc and access the contents directly if he has enough time. Encrypt your laptop’s hard disc to avoid this and secure your data from physical threats. This may be done on both a Mac and a Windows PC.

Consider adding a second factor to your disc encryption if you want to go any farther. Although I don’t do it myself, a few acquaintances have had luck with it on Linux.

Backup your data

Back up your data to ensure you don’t lose what you care about, whether it’s due to ransomware attacks or stolen computers. You have the option of using a local backup or a cloud backup.

Apple’s Time Machine function is available on macOS and may be used for local backups (don’t forget to encrypt your backup!). On Windows, you may use either Microsoft’s backup programme or a more user-friendly application like EaseUS Todo Backup.

Every primary cloud service (Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Drive, Backblaze) has its tool for remote backups. I recommend Arq if you want backup software that encrypts your backup before sending it to your chosen cloud provider so that it can’t read it.

Keep your system and software up to date.

The most straightforward approach to avoid infection on your laptop is to avoid downloading unusual files (such as a strange Flash update) and keep your software up to date. Auto-update is enabled by default in modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox, but you should still restart them from time to time. You benefit from the newest security updates, be sure to switch on auto-update for your operating system and apps (here’s how to do it on macOS; Windows 10 does it by default).

Protect your privacy

Add a screen for privacy.

Attacks on the shoulders are more prevalent than you may believe. Humans are inherently interested, so whether you’re at a coffee shop, the library, or on a plane, you’ll instinctively peek at your screen. Add a privacy screen that limits viewing angles to avoid shoulder surfing assaults and improve your privacy.

I’ve tested several versions over the years, and I believe the 3M Gold Privacy Filter is the best for restricting viewing angles while maintaining the brightness required for viewing the screen.

Add a webcam cover

A RAT (Remote Administration Tool), such as the infamous DarkComet that turns on your camera to spy on you, is arguably the worst thing you can do for your privacy. While the LED next to your camera should be on at all times when the camera is on, hackers have discovered a way to deactivate it on both Windows and macOS.

The only foolproof way to keep voyeurs away from your camera is to place a physical cover on top of it that you can remove as needed. I’ve tried a lot of covers over the years, and my favourite is the Spyslide one that was financed on Indiegogo because of its quality and portability. It looks great on my MacBook, and I’m thinking about getting one for my iPad and phone as well.

Use a virtual private network.

Use a VPN service to preserve your privacy when using public Wi-Fi and prevent your internet provider from recording your browsing history (a virtual private network). The VPN encrypts all communication between you and the VPN server, making it difficult for others on the same network to see what you’re up to. Because the VPN service can monitor your activities, it’s critical to pick one with a firm privacy policy, which is why I recommend reading this article from TorrentFreak to help you decide.

Further, increase your security

A Kensington cable is used to secure your laptop.

If you share an office or leave your laptop unattended in (semi-)public locations, securing it to the table with a Kensington table can dramatically minimize the chances of being stolen. These cords aren’t essential if you exclusively use your laptop in secure locations and never leave it alone.

Set up location finding

Enabling a location-finding service may be pretty helpful if you ever misplace your laptop, whether due to distraction or theft.

Because these services may monitor you, remotely discovering your laptop creates a (slight) privacy risk. As a result, it’s a personal choice based on how important your laptop is to you and how comfortable you are disclosing your whereabouts. I don’t use it myself, but it seems like many others have had luck with it.

Prevent damage by adding a cover

Last but not least, a cover can help protect your laptop from being harmed if it falls or gets bumped. To avoid scratches and modify the look of my laptop, I use a DecalGirl cover, as seen in the photo above. After some testing, I’ve discovered that this brand is superior to the previously used GelaSkins brand.

I don’t carry my laptop in a hard case because I always carry it in a backpack with a built-in pouch. If this isn’t the case for you, a hard case could be a better option.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, a few basic procedures may go a long way toward safeguarding your privacy and improving the security of your laptop. I’ve produced an infographic summarising them to make things even more accessible.

If you find this information valuable, please share this article or the infographic on your favourite social media platforms so that your friends and coworkers may benefit from it as well.

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