In January of this year, Microsoft ended support & updates for Windows 7.
While Windows 10 now accounts for the vast majority of all Windows PCs, there are businesses at risk of cyber-attacks due to their continued use of Windows 7.
Windows 10 is the latest edition of Windows, which is actively maintained by Microsoft and receives security fixes every week.
I’ve had many people say to me “look, Windows is Windows, I’m sure it’ll be fine”. Well that’s a naïve point of view – if Windows isn’t up-to- date, you’re opening yourselves up to all kinds of risks.
Once Microsoft announced the date for the end of support, we began putting in place a strategic plan to replace or upgrade our clients PCs to Windows 10.
It became known within the IT industry as the ‘2020 problem’, although I am sure 2020 will be remembered for another, vastly bigger problem.
Through raising awareness and pro-active organisation, we averted the anticipated cyber-security void for our clients.
So, what can YOU do to keep your Windows PCs secure? Here are our top 5 ways to supercharge your Windows security without needing any third party additional software.
Number 5) Stop putting off Windows updates
We’ve all been there; you’re just setting down your laptop and you see a little message asking you if you want to install updates for Windows… but you’re in the middle of something so you ignore it, or swipe it away.
You might plan to do it later, but later never comes. Humans are forgetful, apparently especially so with updates. Thankfully, Windows 10 includes ‘active hours’, a handy little tool that lets you set times that Windows can automatically install updates & restart your PC, without any intervention from you.
Number 4) Enable Windows Defender
Windows Defender is handy little security suite that comes with Windows as standard, including ongoing anti-virus protection, firewall settings, account protection, device security, as well as app & browser control.
While it’s not necessarily the best anti-virus suite going (we’d advise installing something else, like Avast to handle anti-virus protection), the built-in account security & system protection are well worth setting up.
Number 3) Don’t actively use the administrator account
By default, the first user you setup on a Windows PC is an administrator. This type of user is a superuser and has full access to everything on the PC, allowing them to install any software they like & make any changes they want. It’s very easy to accidentally install malware as an administrator.
So how do you get around this? Set a password on the administrator account & then create a user account that isn’t an administrator. You should then start using the PC as the normal user account; this means that when something tries to install, or tries to change your PC, you’ll be prompted for the administrator password which gives you time to evaluate if you want to allow the install/change.
Number 2) Enable BitLocker
While this won’t necessarily protect you from hackers, it will protect you from another type of criminal – burglars. If someone steals your computer, even without a password they can find ways to access the files on your device – meaning that someone has access to your confidential data.
So how do you get around this? While you can’t stop someone from stealing the device, you can stop them from stealing your data by enabling BitLocker. BitLocker encrypts your hard drive/SSD, meaning that if someone were to steal your device, they’d need your BitLocker encryption key & password. Without it, there’s no way that they’d be able to get access to any of the data on your device.
Number 1) Move away from outdated Windows versions
Windows XP, Windows Vista, and now Windows 7. These are the versions of Windows you need to steer clear of, as without regular support & updates, any holes in the operating system are exposed to the world.
You might think “well, I’m quite tech savvy so I’ll be ok” – you won’t. These operating systems have been around so long, that cyber criminals have had ample time to pull them apart and find loopholes, bugs & backdoors to exploit. You’re essentially inviting an attack by using those versions of Windows.
We always install active monitoring software on every PC we support to ensure they are up-to-date, secure, and that they run smoothly alerting us to problems before they become an issue for staff.
So don’t bury your head in the sand, get in touch today to get your systems updated, pro-actively monitored and more importantly, secure.