Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 which is supposedly much better and secure than previous versions, but still you don’t trust anyone else when it comes to your online safety and privacy. Let’s see what you can do to maintain Windows Security to be protected when using your computer.
Windows Updates (Key to Windows Security)
Your system is more exposed to malicious software if you do not update, but rather knowing this people avoid downloading latest updates and often forgets to install them. Usually Windows operating system contains security loopholes and errors which make these updates even more important to install, as installing all the available Windows Updates will save you from many security threats and will keep you up to date on Windows Security.
To improve the security and performance of Windows, these updates are necessary to install. Windows Updates often install new features or improvements such as recently released Windows 8.1 Update 2 which will help you to solve many issues you are facing on Windows 8.
The same thing happens with Windows XP and actually the main reason for the discontinuation of Windows XP support as it Win XP has become the prior target of hackers due to Windows Security breaches and an operating system which is running without any Windows Update. Security firms have reported ¼ of every PC running without any security updates is a hacker’s dream.
Updates are easy to install and they save you from troubles. You just need to download and install the updates or even you can set Windows to download and install all updates automatically. To do so go to Control Panel > click on Windows Update > Change settings > choose Install updates automatically from the list.
Microsoft Account (Two-step authentication process for Windows Security)
Microsoft has also gone the route of Apple and Google products as their Microsoft Account is not much different from them. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to bind the machines and provide the syncing way across all Windows devices through one Microsoft account. But people need to take some extra precautions here.
Firstly they need to set strong password- it should not be neglected especially if your old account has recently been rebranded as a Microsoft account. Microsoft has also offered two-step authentication where basically you have to provide username and password as well as the code sent you via SMS or email. You must provide an alternative email and phone number to Microsoft in case you forget your password and cannot access your account.
Microsoft has given you access to a tool which will allow you to see recent activity which can help you to find any suspicious activity, well you can also receive security notifications on your phone for any suspicious log-in attempts.
Keep in mind that if you use local account rather than online Microsoft Account you will not able to download apps from Windows Store.
Trust Your PC
Windows 8 has the ability to synchronize user settings across all your devices but first you need to trust your PC if you want this to work. It’s really important regarding security as trusted PC allow you to sync and set your personal settings, passwords etc. all from one place.
To trust your PC, go to Control Panel > open the Action Centre and from here you can add your PC to trusted devices. To complete the process click the Trust this PC button, Windows will ask you to enter code which have been sent to you via SMS or email.
Microsoft Windows Security Essentials and Windows Defender
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is Microsoft’s free anti-virus software, designed to protect you against malware and viruses on Windows. In Windows 8 this has been merged with Windows Defender.
In reality Windows defender is no better than MSE; as it’s just a simple anti-virus, nothing beneficial though as it provides only minimum amount of protection against malware and viruses. It’s recommended that you should go for some popular anti-virus like Avast and AVG which do their job much better.
Windows Security Firewall
A firewall isn’t the same thing as an antivirus as it’s a software/hardware which protects your computer from hacking or any other issues getting towards your PC through the internet. Anti-viruses are for virus protection, anti-malware is to protect against malware but at the same level you need firewall (Windows 8 has a built-in firewall) to protect yourself over the networks.
Although Windows 8 has built-in firewall but you can try some third party firewalls which are excellent in doing their job. Windows 8′s firewall allows you to have public and private profiles for the firewall whose settings are tweak-able.
By default, outbound connections are not blocked but you can do so, as well as can configure firewall rules in Windows 8 to block them. Firewall also allows you to temporarily block all incoming connections to your computer, which is not recommended to configure by the way. You can enable it if you want to be extra conscious or when you are using large networks like of hotel or airport.
To configure Firewall settings, go to Control Panel > click on Windows Firewall; here you will see different options and settings. Try to get familiar with them; if accidently you click the wrong settings then no need to worry as you can always Restore defaults which will return all the settings.
You are always welcome to give suggestions, let us know in the comments how you keep yourself secure on Windows 8.1.