There are over 1.4 billion people around the world using either Windows 10 or 11 – the newest iteration of the OS. If you’re one of the masses, you need to be aware how to keep your computer and the data you store and share safe.
If you’re serious about keeping your device secure and protected from hackers, follow our five top tips to keep your Windows 10 device safe.
- Use Windows Defender virus and threat detection
While there are myriad paid-for and freemium anti-virus software out there, the preinstalled Windows Defender does a pretty decent job of keeping your computer safe. It’s free to use and matches the standards you’d expect from some of the most common online tools.
The software you need comes as standard with Windows 10, but you should make sure you have it turned on. Go to the search bar in the bottom left of your screen and type in “Windows Security” then click on “Virus & threat detection.”
From here, you can check that you have all the settings turned on. You can even do a quick scan to ensure you’re all up to date and secure from the beginning.
- Turn on the Windows Defender firewall
Windows Defender is a firewall that comes as part of the Windows 10 package. A firewall monitors the traffic going in and out of your computer and makes sure only safe and trusted gets through.
You can install other firewalls, but the Windows option is a decent firewall that should work well at protecting your home PC. Even better, you don’t need to download it to start using it.
To switch on Windows Defender for Windows 10, simply:
- Type in “Windows Security” to the search bar in the bottom left of your screen.
- In the window, look for the option of “Firewall & network protection” and click it.
- In the next window, make sure that all your network defense options are turned on.
This should be all the firewall you need to keep your traffic secure.
- Keep Windows up to date
With billions of people using Windows, it’s no wonder it gets targeted by hackers a lot. In fact, in 2021, it was targeted more than 107 million times, which is an average of 227 attempted attacks a minute.
No software is perfect, but Windows knows this, and it releases updates and security patches regularly. To keep your computer secure, make sure you always run updates as soon as you’re able to.
You can check for updates whenever you wish through the Windows Update option. Search for “Windows Update” and you will see if you have any updates pending. You can then download anything you need and may also need to update your computer.
If you ever have the option to update before shutting down or restarting your computer, it’s better to do this sooner rather than later. Look for the yellow dot on your power options.
- Use a VPN
There is a range of security benefits for your Windows 10 device to using a VPN. You can use your VPN changer options to set your online address to a different country or state, protecting your browsing when using your device on a public network.
A good VPN will also encrypt all the traffic that comes into and out of your device. This means that as well as firewall checking your traffic, your VPN is actively making sure hackers can’t access it.
- Be internet savvy
No matter how adept you are with computers and technology, a reminder to be sensible and skeptical online is always helpful.
Always be cautious when clicking on links online. If you get an email from a person or address you don’t recognize, check the sender details and take any actions they ask independent of the email. For example, if you get an email from your bank about security, go to your app or their website on your own and do what you need to.
Remember the basic concept of if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Big flashing pop-ups saying you’ve won a million dollars or that your computer is about to die if you don’t click on a link in five seconds are going to be a scam!
Keeping Windows 10 safe
Microsoft’s Windows operating system is by far and away the most commonly used operating system for PCs and laptops. While that means the company has the resources to keep it secure, it also makes it a massive target for hackers.
If you follow our five simple steps to protect your Windows 10 device, you should be safe from most attacks and hacks you could be vulnerable to. Maintain your security settings and always be cautious of anything you see online.