If you are using a computer with Windows 8, you’re now faced with an unfamiliar operating system that at first glance seems more difficult to customize than earlier versions of Windows, and comes with its own security concerns.
Below are some important tips that will help secure your systems running on Windows 8. Some of these tips are exclusive to this version of Windows, while some have proven useful in previous versions and have been repackaged for better security.
1. Encrypt your data
To keep your documents, passwords and other valuable data safe, Encryption is the key—whether you’re surfing the Internet, doing back up on the server or any other related process on your PC. Data encryption makes your data totally inaccessible to anyone except you; hackers can only try, they cannot break it.
So make use of these massive digits and also the BitLocker, an encryption feature of Windows 8. When you enable the Bitlocker, it will automatically encrypt any files or other data stored on designated drives, making it useless to hackers. Make sure you use a strong password that should be at least 10 characters long; and contain a mixture of digits, letters and a symbol.
2. Use picture passwords
Hackers are so familiar with alphanumeric passwording, so Microsoft has added a new security feature that allows users to select an image from their system instead. You can perform several patterns on the photo, either using the touch screen feature or your mouse. These patterns now become part of the authentication method.
Your account picture is associated with your Microsoft account, so it will show whenever you log in to your system. Window 8 defaults to the picture password anytime the system is locked or restarted, and you just make the patterns to get into your system.
3. Turn on Family Safety
Have you ever been concerned about what your kids are up to on the PC and online? Family Safety has come to your rescue. Family Safety lets you know which sites your kids have visited and which games & apps they have used.
You can also block or allow specific websites or other content, and even control the time they can use on the PC. This security feature allows parents to set up separate accounts for each child and have the option of receiving reports on the kids’ activities online. It will also tell you which blocked sites they tried to visit as well, that’s CIA-level stuff!
4. Make Use of the Smartscreen
Windows SmartScreen is a new safety feature that can help protect you from phishing scams and new malware that your anti-malware software hasn’t detected yet. On visiting a website, or clicking on a file, it relays with Microsoft and checks if that website/file is backlisted or not.
Then SmartScreen pops up a warning if you try to visit a site or open a file that isn’t confirmed to be safe. As a defense against malware, SmartScreen is actually rather effective — but sometimes can get annoying because of the regular pop ups .
It will also check downloaded apps against a reputation database to see whether they’re malicious or not. Heed these warnings and don’t disable this feature.
5. Run antimalware software
This is a well-known tip; like in any other OS, it’s a good idea to run the best antivirus you can afford, on all of your computers. Windows 8 has an application called Windows Defender which gives basic protection against viruses and other threats, but if you can, it’s a good idea to go with a premium antivirus product.
Antivirus software protects you against numerous online threats, including spyware, phishing scams, viruses, and more. Third-party test labs can usually demonstrate whether or not an antivirus fully delivers on what it promises.
Bitdefender Windows 8 Security, for example, is an antivirus package which has been specifically designed for Windows 8. It offers you genuine protection that ensures your safety; a firewall that blocks network attacks; and Bitdefender SafePay which provides a secure and isolated browser to keep your online banking and shopping details protected, among other things.
The antivirus can also check through your Windows 8 apps for security problems, and communicate with the Windows 8 Security Center to inform you about the current state of your PC.
Bonus Tip- Use automatic updates
There are different kinds of updates on Windows 8. Security updates protect against vulnerabilities against malware, security exploits and more. Windows Update installs these updates as soon as they become available online. It should however be noted that Windows Update will not install any app to your system without your approval. Configuring your updates profile should be one of the first things you do on any new Windows PC.
You can never be too careful on your PC, especially when running Windows 8, but I hope you find these tips helpful at keeping you safe from all kinds of online threats.