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August 15, 2019

Secure Your New Computer to Protect Your Online Privacy

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Computers play an important role in our lives, giving us access to a broader world. However, that world can sometimes access our private lives in return, if we don’t take proper steps to protect ourselves. These steps should be taken every time you buy a new device, every time you reboot an old device, or even if you just want to make sure your current device is safe and secure. To secure your new computer and protect your online privacy, do the following:

  • Keep on top of updates
  • Create a clean restore point
  • Back up the system
  • Install antivirus software
  • Use separate admin and user accounts
  • Encrypt the hard drive
  • Remove unnecessary software
  • Secure your web browser
  • Be smart online

Keep on Top of Updates

Although updates may be annoying, especially ones that take a long time, they’re incredibly important to keep on top of. They keep devices in good working order but, more importantly, they make sure those devices remain safe. They correct security flaws and beef up privacy. By ignoring updates, you put yourself at risk.

Create a Clean Restore Point

Before you begin using a new computer, you should create a restore point for your data. If files become corrupted or drivers stop working correctly, you can use this restore point to set your computer back in time.

Back Up the System

A clean restore point helps to protect you from malicious software and threats online. However, you may still encounter hardware issues that put your privacy at risk. To protect your data, back up your device. We recommend using both an external hard drive and an online backup system (like a cloud service).

Install Antivirus Software

The next step to secure your new computer is to install an antivirus software. This will help to protect you from malicious software you might accidentally come across. The antivirus software you choose should include automatic updates, real-time scans, and a firewall.

Use Separate Admin and User Accounts

When you set up a new computer, you’ll have the option to create multiple user accounts. At the minimum, you should use an admin account and a user account. The admin typically has full computer privileges, from installing and uninstalling software, updating system settings, and changing usernames or passwords. Because it has access to everything, you should not use it for day-to-day activities. If that account is breached, the person behind the breach can freely access your device, with no restrictions, therefore putting you at risk. Instead, the separate user account (with reduced privileges) is ideal for daily use.

Secure Your New Computer by Encrypting the Hard Drive

Using hard drive encryption protects your privacy in multiple ways. Should an attack take place on a device you own, the encryption will prevent those hackers from accessing the most sensitive files. However, remote hacks aren’t the only way your device may be compromised. Because laptops are portable, they can be stolen and breached. Encrypting the hard drive helps to protect you in this event as well.

Remove Unnecessary Software

The more software you have on a device, the more opportunities there are for hackers to breach it. You can limit their chances by removing any software you don’t regularly use. If you happen to need it down the road, it can always be re-installed.

Secure Your Web Browser

A computer never connected to the internet is a computer safe from hacking. However, it’s also not a very practical computer, when most are designed as tools to access the internet. Instead of shunning the online world entirely, keep yourself safe by securing your web browser. To do this, you should always use the most recent version of a browser, keep it updated, enable it to block pop ups, and use private browsing. You can also use a private search engine, like HotBot.com, which takes care of search security for you.

Be Smart Online

Finally, even after you secure your new computer, you need to remain vigilant as you use it, especially online. Even if you’ve done all of the steps above, the safest and most effective way of keeping your device safe is to not open it up to potentially unsafe situations in the first place. Only download from trusted sources and don’t click links you don’t know. You are your own first line of defence in computer safety and privacy.

You can further protect yourself and your device by using a good VPN service. Why not try HotBot VPN?

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