Computer Security Checklist (Laptop and Desktop)

Computer and Laptop 
  • Is your operating system up-to-date

Windows and Apple operating systems will have settings that allow the automatic download of patches and updates. Allowing automatic installation of the updates is up to you, but at least enable to auto-download and notify.

For Windows-based systems, Windows Defender is adequate. Avast Antivirus is a highly-rated program with versions for multiple operating systems (Mac, Windows & Android). Kaspersky is also highly-rated but has been banned from some government networks due to security concerns.As with your OS, make sure your antivirus remains up-to-date.

  • Are the applications you use up-to-date

Not all programs have an auto-update option when a newer version is available and you may need to check on your own. If a developer no longer supports a program you use, consider finding a replacement

  • Have you rebooted your computer recently

While some updates don’t require a restart to take effect, a majority will. For updates that require a restart, you will generally get a notification to this effect. If you leave your computer on when not in use, get in the habit of restarting on a regular basis to make sure everything is truly updated.

  • Is your information securely backed-up

A new trend in malware is ransomware. These attacks will encrypt all the data on your hard drive and will demand payment to provide the decryption key. Without this key, your data is lost forever. If you have your data backed-up, you can wipe the hard drive and reinstall. There are online back-up services and you can also buy desktop hard drives to do the same – make sure the back-up is not connected to your computer or it will be encrypted as well.

Web Browser Security

  • Do you have an ad-blocker installed

Malicious advertisements are increasingly being used to infect computers. There are multiple, reputable, options for ad-blockers depending on the browser you are using. Adblock Plus is available for Internet Explorer, iOS, and Firefox. uBlock Origin is available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge (Windows 10 browser).

  • Is your web browser up-to-date

Yes, this is a theme. Browsers are updated to fix exploits and improve operation often. Enable automatic downloads of updates and restart your browser after installation.

  • Use private windows

Most browsers will come with a privacy-browsing option: InPrivate browsing for IE, Incognito for Chrome, etc. Familiarize yourself with these options and use them when accessing sensitive information. Private windows prevent malicious code in other tabs from “seeing” or interfering with what you are doing in a private window.

  • Use https:// when available

Https is a secure, encrypted connection from your computer to a website. Many services offer encrypted and unencrypted versions of their website and most will default to secure https when you are on the login screen. You can confirm if you are viewing the encrypted website by the presence of a green lock icon or seeing https in the web address. While https will not protect your information on an already-compromised computer, it will prevent someone from snooping on the connection between your computer and a website. If you do not see the green lock, you can manually enter https:// as part of typing a URL to force the secure connection if it is available. There is also an extension called HTTPS Everywhere that is available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge that forces the use of the encrypted option on supported websites.

  • Disable Flash

Flash is a popular vector to attack computers. If you cannot disable Flash, at least set it to “Ask first” – this will prevent flash from running automatically when a webpage loads. In most browsers this is a default setting, but check to make sure it is enabled.

If you haven`t installed antivirus on your computers, i recommend that you install Avast Antivirus Here, it`s better to be safe than sorry.

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