If you already took our other courses, you know that the Internet is a jungle — there are threats all around, and without the necessary precautions you are bound to fall prey to something nasty. So it is vital at every step to be aware of what you
are doing and what the consequences may be, and to take preemptive protective action. In this lesson, we will show you how to protect and configure a Windows computer.
Let’s start with the obvious: The computer needs to be password-protected. If you haven’t done this yet, go to the user settings and set a password there. You will have to enter this password VERY often, so don’t overdo the length. Nevertheless, the
standard rules still apply: at least 10 characters with numbers and upper/lowercase letters.
Next, the computer must be supplied with an antivirus. Windows comes with one already in the shape of Windows Defender. But in our view, it is not sufficient, so you need to get a more serious security product.
There are free solutions available online, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud Free, but if you want to spend less time thinking about protection and potential threats, it’s better to pay for one and get more features.
So, you’ve now chosen an antivirus. But don’t rush to install it! First make sure that there is no other security solution on the computer. Two antiviruses can easily conflict with each other — a clear case of too many cooks spoil the broth. Windows
Defender can simply be disabled in the system settings; but if you have another third-party antivirus, it is better to uninstall it. Device manufacturers often pre-install trial versions of security products, so even if you personally didn’t install
anything, check anyway.
One other tip: When installing an antivirus, use the recommended settings. There’s a reason why they are recommended, since they are based on statistics collected and analyzed by the developers over a long period. These settings will nip most threats
in the bud without bothering you over trifles. If you really want to customize the settings, make sure that you know what you are doing.
That’s the first line of defense sorted, but it’s not enough. Now we need to install a VPN — a secure data transfer channel. While the antivirus handles things on the computer, the VPN protects outgoing and incoming data en route.
Where to get such a program? Some security solutions come with a VPN, for example, the Kaspersky Secure Connection component in Kaspersky Internet Security. It can also be downloaded separately, and an antivirus is not required for its operation.
But be careful! VPNs protect data en route from your computer to the VPN server from everyone... except the owners of this VPN. So do not use programs unless you are sure of the developers’ reputation. First read reviews and ratings, and preferably
choose a solution from an established brand.
You should enable a VPN when using public Wi-Fi, especially if you plan to log into accounts, make purchases, or do online banking. Some solutions, including Kaspersky Secure Connection, can turn on automatically when you need them.
We’ve now built the walls, and installed a gatekeeper. Now it’s time to take care of the keys to the gates, that is, your passwords. A password manager can assist here — it will not only secure your passwords, but help to choose strong ones. (Remember
the risks of using something like John1995? If not, see our course on computer security basics.) Some password managers can even import your logins and passwords from browsers (where they should NOT be stored), among them Kaspersky Password Manager.
For more details on the hows and whys of using a password manager, see the course on data protection and privacy.
Adding a touch of privacy
By default, Microsoft collects a lot of data about how you use Windows 10, and hands some of it to third-party applications. If you do not wish to share it, go to the settings and disable whatever you don’t like. This is not relevant to earlier versions
In Windows 10, the required settings are found under Privacy. There are many settings, but we recommended disabling everything on the General tab, and configuring stricter settings on the Diagnostics & feedback tab. On the
Camera and Microphone tabs, disable applications which, in your view, do not need access to these peripherals.
So, now you have a well-protected computer that doesn’t fritter away your data. However, you still can’t let your guard down. The only defense against social engineering is common sense and knowhow — including what you learned in our courses on information
security and privacy. Besides, you probably have other devices, such as an iPhone or Android smartphone. They too can and must be configured and protected. We will discuss how exactly in the next lessons of this course.
What do you need to do to securely protect your computer?