The Ten (10) Basic Steps in Ensuring the Protection of your Local Computing Devices.

While there is a saying “no one is unhackable” it is important to be security conscious as we might not know when we could become a target, or when our network has been compromised. These are the 10-basic steps in ensuring the protection of your local computing devices.

These steps ensures that the level of security attack you are exposed to are limited, compared to someone who doesn’t adopt these ten basic steps. Image-source: pexels
  1. The use of Secure connections:

It is important to always be on a secure connection. Avoid using unknown networks, if possible, otherwise when your device or devices are connected, ensure they are listed as public network and not home network or trusted networks. This makes your computer firewall to alert you, when a known intrusion or malicious communication is established.

  1. Firewall Configuration:

 The importance of firewall configuration should not be underestimated. All Windows, macOS based devices have an active firewall, except for Linux distros that users need to configure the firewalls themselves. It is important to enable OS firewalls, and if you are a technical person or have someone technical close to you request an assistance to configure the firewall.

This will enable the control of traffic and information flow between your computing device and the internet.

  1.  Install Antivirus Software or Anti-Malware:

There are numerous Antivirus software or Anti-malware premium services out there. Installing an antivirus or anti-malware acts as an archils heels protection, when the firewall can’t detect anomaly, or suspicious connections, the antivirus or anti-malware becomes a fallback safe plan.

However, avoid using free anti-malware or anti-virus software’s as their power of detection and ability to update its database are not much compared to paid version.

In all these, the most important thing you have to lookout for when purchasing an antivirus software, is the reputation of the company, make deep research about their products, customer reviews are very important as the public rarely lies, also it is important to lookout for the detection properties or functions the anti-virus and anti-malware offers. e.g., blocking of malicious pages to prevent remote code injection into your device, timely moving suspicious files to the quarantine vault upon detection, blocking suspicious incoming connections and other good features.

  1. Remove Unnecessary Software or Outdated Software from your Device:

Too many unnecessary software’s or outdated ones should be uninstalled from your computing device. It is sad that much emphasis about these is not discussed. However, a software installed on your device can be an easy entry point by non-ethical hackers or a malicious hacker.

If you need to know, most of this software communicate to the internet via a service port, in other to receive updates, or even run the service it offers. Assuming the software is out-of-date, or vulnerable, attackers can scan these ports to see, how they can leverage this to gain access to your device.

It should also be known, that most organization install backdoors to their software to make it easy when customers require assistance, a hacker can also detect this backdoor, and the rest would be history for the targeted user. 

 Therefore, if not necessary, avoid keeping a software on your device that is not a day-to-day use; however, if important, ensure that the software is up-to-date.

  1. Ensure nonessential Services if running, are Disabled:

The need to disable nonessential services that are running is important. The easiest way to detect services that are running, if you are not a tech person, is via the task manager, then select the “Services” tab, to view all the services running and active on your device.

Select a service and right click, if there is an indicator “stop” it means the service is running, then you can stop it. However, it is important before you stop any service to read about it first, as certain services if stopped might freeze your computer or even turn it off.

Disabling nonessential services keeps you safe from such services being exploited by a hacker. Image-source: fixitgearware
  1. Disabling Unnecessary default features by the OS:

In windows OS, most installed applications startup with the device. This unnecessary default feature by the OS, should be disabled. 

An infected software can be among the applications, that wake up when your device is switched on. It is advisable, to disable windows startup applications. This also helps in speeding your device starting up process upon wakeup.

By Default most apps startup, upon windows starting or rebooting. Disabling this app is another security measures that users should adopt. Image-source: Fixitgearware

To access the windows startup settings, click on “Settings->Apps->Startup” a list of all the installed apps on your device would be shown, and you can turn the nonessential ones off by toggling the button.

  1. Use Safe Web browsers or secure the ones you are using:

Download and use safe or secured web browsers only. There are numerous browsers out there with powerful functions and capabilities, able to block tracking cookies, or even enable strict mode in its security feature: such as disabling the loading of JavaScript files and more.

 However, this might affect the functionality of regular websites that do not load malicious JavaScript or that is safe to surf. This is where users have to set a list of trusted websites to be exempted from the strict access control set on the browser. Good Browsers such as Brave, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft edge are recommended, as they provide these features.

  1. Regularly Update your OS:

Regularly check operating system updates. Surprisingly, most device users do not regularly update their devices, they just turn it on use, surf the internet and that is it.

Constantly check for software updates, and run the necessary commands required to install these security patches on your device. It is advisable, to check at least once a day for software updates for your devices. This makes you security conscious, and update your device with necessary patches if they are released.  

  1. Always Use Strong Security Passwords:

The need for the use of strong security password is important. I know you might have heard of this time, and time over again, however, people still practise bad security measures when it comes to creating password for their device.

Avoid using common passwords like “Password123” “myChildrenmylove” or using phrases that are guessable. If you have difficulties remembering information’s, then write your strong password down on a piece of paper and keep them safe, with constant practise you will start remembering them easily. Use strong passwords, that are only known to you.  

  1. Create Separate User Accounts on the same Device:

Creating separate user accounts on a device used by all family members is another security measures. If your device is shared amongst family members or even your children, ensure that each of these users have their separate accounts, and the rights given to them should be limited. You never can know, what they surf on the internet when you are not there, or the software applications they install on your device.

This will make it easy for you a super user or admin of the device to detect malicious or suspicious event when they occur.

While there are numerous steps out there, these 10-basic steps we at fixitgearware advices everyone to adhere to, if they aren’t tech savvy or IT professionals.




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