According to Finances Online, cybercrime costs American businesses over $500 million per year in losses. But you don’t have to own or even be part of a business to face the consequences. For every data breach, thousands to millions of user accounts are compromised. This can lead to the misuse of your most personal and private information.
And, while today’s consumer software is significantly more secure, you still run the risk of unknowingly coming into contact with a virus, adware, ransomware or another form of malware that can cost you your laptop. So, whether you’re typing away at home or folding up and heading off, here are 4 simple steps for keeping your laptop secure.
Take Care of the Essentials
Start with the basics, such as ensuring that your laptop is locked with a password that cannot be easily guessed by others. Also make sure that you’re using a password-protected screensaver that starts automatically if you’ve left your laptop unattended for a few minutes.
It’s worth noting that even the most secure password can be reset using commonly available software, such as free resetting and brute force guessing programs. However, running these applications requires a bootable CD or USB stick. So, to avoid this vulnerability, make sure that CD and USB booting is disabled by altering the settings in your BIOS.
Encrypt Your Storage
Physical theft of your data is no less of a threat than digital theft. Make sure that the storage devices in your laptop are encrypted. This way, the data they contain can only be accessed with a unique encryption key. Some popular encryption utilities for both Mac and Windows devices include Bitlocker, TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt.
It’s a great idea to protect your data, but what happens if it’s still lost to theft or a ransomware attack? To ensure that you can access your important files no matter what, back them up on either an external drive or cloud storage service. Assuming you stick with a reputable provider like Google or Dropbox, the latter will prove to be a safer bet.
In the event that your external drive gets damaged or you can’t access your cloud storage account, your next option is to recover the data on your failed drive. A popular solution here is a data recovery service like SecureDataRecovery.com, who will help you regain access to lost files on just about any storage device.
Use a VPN
Public networks, such as those found in cafes, airports and hotels, pose a huge security risk to laptop users. Hackers can simply download a free software program and eavesdrop on your emails or copy the passwords you enter on the network. To prevent your data from being intercepted, make use of a reputable VPN provider.
In addition to the above steps, you can further enhance the security of your laptop by keeping software up to date, concealing your webcam, using a privacy screen, picking up a Kensington cable and setting up a tracking device. These measures will go a long way in keeping your personal data and privacy safe.