It has always been a popular platform, but Microsoft’s Windows is known to face many threats. For example, Microsoft’s February 2021 updates contained patches for no less than 56 common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs). Of these, 11 CVEs are critical and 1 is being actively exploited, according to reports from the Zero Day Initiative.
Figures such as these illustrate the need for Windows users to keep their devices as secure as possible. Windows PCs are accessible, affordable, and therefore widely used. It also means that threat actors create more Windows threats than for other computer operating systems (OS) as the potential number of targets is significantly higher.
With that in mind, it makes sense to secure your Windows PC in 2021 and beyond. Here we cover three top tips for Windows users.
1. Keep your OS and apps updated, always
Running your computer and connecting to the internet without having completed essential updates is akin to going away for the weekend but leaving your front door wide open — you’re giving threat actors free rein to access your device and your personal data.
As we’ve seen, companies release updates to patch known exploits and vulnerabilities in operating systems, so while those lengthy Windows updates may be tedious, they are essential and should never be ignored. Likewise, it makes sense to keep all of your Windows PC apps updated for the same reasons.
2. Use additional security software
Microsoft Windows 10 contains some of the tech giant’s best security features to date, but even with all of Windows’ native security tools enabled, you are best to bring in some extra help in the form of high-quality, paid security solutions.
Invest in the following tools as standard:
- A VPN for Windows – Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs for short) are handy privacy tools that can also boost your device’s security status. When you use a VPN app on your PC, you generate a private browsing network, and in the process, all of your traffic is encrypted.
For remote workers, VPNs are essential as they help protect a company’s online systems from sniffing and other data detection tactics. For regular users, a VPN shields your online activity, meaning your information is kept safe and sound.
- Antivirus and antimalware – You need both of these security tools in 2021. The number of threats is growing and they are increasingly sophisticated and dynamic. Antimalware is a more modern version of traditional antiviruses and can detect threats antiviruses miss. Conversely, traditional antiviruses are great at catching known worms and Trojans.
3. Enable Windows’ in-built security features
If you’re running Windows 10, you can avail yourself of the OS’s numerous native security features, including:
- Bitlocker or Device Encryption – Encrypt the information stored on your PC.
- Windows Defender SmartScreen – Block sites that contain malware or phishing.
- Windows Defender Firewall – Defend against online threats.
- Windows Sandbox – Run new or untrusted applications in a sandbox.
- Windows Hello – Sign in to your device with biometrics.
If you follow our three top tips for protecting your Windows device, you’re well on your way to better PC cybersecurity. Remember to also follow solid digital hygiene practices and keep up to date on the latest scams.