Last updated on September 28th, 2013
(Based in Windows 8, 7, Vista Pro OS) In our daily lives, we all use a computer for work, information or just entertainment at home, in a small network connected to the internet, or even in a wide network in our job. However, over time the security risks are increasing, but a lot of users or small companies, don't know how to protect themselves from viruses, internet computers attacks, or data abstractions. In this post you can find eight security tips from your own protection.
Tip No 1: Use a strong password for each user account in your computer.
A big security risk for every operating system or internet site (e.g. webmail, e-banking account) is the usage of a lame password. A strong password consists of eight or more characters and includes capital letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers. Also beware to change your password often.
Notice: If your are running Windows XP you must define a password for account "Administrator" because by default this account is hidden and has a blank password.
How to set user password in Windows 7:
1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Add or remove user accounts.
2. Click the account you want to make changes (e.g. user).
3. Click on "Create a password" option.
Tip No 2: Think and choose carefully the users that you want to be administrators in your computer.
For every user on your computer define the account type (e.g. administrator or standard user) to prevent them from making unwanted changes on your computer settings or view your files.
How to change the account type:
2. From "Manage Accounts" option in Control panel, open the account you want to make changes (e.g. user) and click on "Change the account type" option on the left.
Tip No 3: Make sure that "Guest" account is off.
Make sure that the "Guest" user account, that was created by default from Windows installation, is off (disabled) in "Manage Accounts" options in Control panel.
Tip No 4: Disable "Remote Assistance" and "Remote Desktop Features" if you don't need them.
If you have Windows Professional* edition then ensure that "Remote Assistance" and "Remote Desktop" features are disabled. These features are very helpful if you have a problem and you want your technician to remotely help you, but if they are unnecessary is a security "hole" in your computer, because if an attacker has compromised one of your accounts, he can easily log on at your system from a remote location.
*By default these features are not enabled and they are unavailable in Windows Home Editions.
How to disable "Remote Assistance" and "Remote Desktop" features in Windows 7:
Right click in "My Computer" icon and choose "Properties"
Click on "Remote settings" on the left.
On Remote settings options make sure that "Allow Remote assistance connections" is unchecked and at "Remote Desktop" section the "Don't allow connections to this computer" is checked. Choose "OK" when you finish.
Tip No 5. Always have enabled the Windows firewall service unless you use an alternative Firewall program.
How to Enable the Windows Firewall service from "Windows Firewall" option in Control panel.
If you are a more familiar user and understand some of security settings,I suggest you buy and install a third party personal firewall program from the market. There are always free reliable editions to try like Zone alarm or Comodo firewall.
How to enable Windows Firewall in Windows 7:
1. Right click in "My Computer" icon and choose "Manage".
2. Click "Services and Applications" on the left pane and then double click at "Services" on the right.
3. In the services list, check if "Windows Firewall" service is "Started".
4. If not, double click on "Windows Firewall Service" and set the Startup Type to "Automatic". Then press "OK" and Restart your computer.
Tip No 6: Turn On User Account Control (UAC)
With User Account Control (UAC) enabled, the system notifies you every time when a program tries to make changes on your computer. Also When UAC is enabled if you have already defined another user on your computer as a standard account (Tip No 2 in this post), this user cannot install a program without administrator level permissions.
How to enable or disable User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 7:
1. Go to Start > Control Panel and click on "System Security".
2. Inside "System Security" settings, click on "Change User Account Control settings" option.
3. Drag 'n drop the slider on the left to modify alert settings. I prefer the default option (screenshot), but if you want, you can choose to "Always Notify" you for changes by moving the slider to it's upper position.
Tip No 7: Turn Autorun and Autoplay features off.
When you insert an external hard disk, flash disk or a cd rom in your computer, Windows runs a set of commands that enable applications to start, start installation programs, or start other routines on the system without requiring user intervention. This is a security risk because malicious code may be executed without the user's knowledge.
Read this article to learn How to disable Autoplay and Autorun features in windows.
Tip No 8: Password protect your screensaver:
If your workstation is in an place where other people can access it, then define a strong password in your screensaver to prevent other users from taking advantage of an unlocked console and accessing your files.
How to define a screensaver password in Windows 7:
Right click on your desktop and choose "Personalize"
Inside Personalization options, choose "Screen Saver" item.
After choosing your preferred screen saver, check to enable the "On resume, display logon screen" option and press "OK".
Keep reading on Ten+ tips to keep your computer fast and healthy.
I hope you find this post helpful.