In today’s world, security has to be job one for every computer users. Actually things are so bad it has to be job two and three as well. The best way to begin securing your computer is with the basics. When you start thinking about security, forget about all the Malware and the fancy stuff, just start with the basics and work your way up.
Therefore the first thing you need to do is physically secure your computer. Many people go to great lengths to ensure internet security and ignore the possibility that somebody may steal your data the old fashioned way. That is they will sit down at your computer and access it that way. The best way to prevent this is to lock your computer when you leave it.
Lock Your Computer
To do this simply press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on your keyboard and select Lock Computer in the Display Properties Window. This is pretty much the same in all versions of Windows and it is fairly easy to do. This way you won’t be able to get into your desktop without typing in your password and user ID.
Pick a really good password that you can remember. It should be something that you will know off the top of your head but most people wouldn’t think of. An example would be some useless trivia you know such as words from a song, your favorite comic book character or your favorite ballplayer’s name and number. Do not write the password down anywhere (such as underneath your keyboard I’ve seen that).
You probably don’t need to change the password on a regular basis if only you are using the computer. Make sure you do this with your laptop in case it gets lost or stolen. Other good suggestions include keeping your computer in a locked room.
When you do this make sure you set Windows to automatically lock itself after a period of inactivity. You can do this in the Screen Saver Tab in the properties.
Okay this is pretty basic but you’d surprised how many people don’t do it. Your computer is just like your house and your car, if you leave it unlocked crooks can get into it.
Change the Account Names
By default every version of Windows creates two accounts; default and administrator, when you set it up. This can be a problem because hackers can access these accounts. You can make their job a little harder by changing the account names.
To change the names, Press the Windows key & R then type in secpol.msc . Locate local polices and security options. Look for Accounts rename administrator, doubleclick on these options, and click apply and OK.
Kill Unwanted Network Connections
One really annoying feature of Windows that is also a security threat is unwanted network connections. When Windows is installed it installs a number of network connections including some that you may not want. Be particularly careful with wireless connections because you never know who can monitor them.
To shut down unwanted connections open the Control Panel and the Network Connections. If you see any network connection you don’t want right click on it and select properties. Then select File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks and click uninstall. This will shut down the connection.
To shut off an internet connection you don’t want Select Protocol orTCP/IP in the control panel. Select the Properties and locate the advanced button. Find the WINS tab and uncheck Enable LMHOSTS Lookup. You should also disable NetBIOS overTCP/IP. To make this work you will have to restart the PC. After you restart it is always a good idea to go in and make sure the network connections are shut off. Windows being Windows it does not always turn off things like connections.
Secure File Sharing
You can restrict file sharing if you want to. If you don’t want to see all those videos your buddies keep sending you, you can switch to Simple File Sharing. This will restrict the kinds of files you can share and lower the possibility of getting viruses, Malware, etc. Open the Control Panel. Double click on Folder Options then select the view tab and scroll down to Use Simple File Sharing, to switch to this Click apply and OK.
Simple File Sharing increases security because default versions of Windows have a complex file sharing program that will download almost anything. You will have to turn this off if you want to download something big like an operating system or a movie.
Make Sure Your Security is Turned On!!
The final and most important basic security troubleshooting tip is to make sure your security is up to date and turned on. Your antivirus program should have an Icon that appears somewhere on your desk top usually in the lower right hand corner. When you right click on it should tell you if it is on. Do this occasionally because these programs do turn themselves off.
It also pays to check the Security options to see what is turned on and what is not. Also make sure the firewall and Microsoft Security Essentials are turned on and updated. Microsoft Security Essentials and antivirus programs do update themselves. Check and see when the last update occurred and update the program if it’s been more than a week.