Buying a new computer? Here’s how to secure it

October marks National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, otherwise known as NCSAM, focusing on our shared responsibility to keep the online community safe for everyone. 

From data breaches to compliance regulations to the unrelenting pace of business, staying aware of ever-present dangers has become a full-time job. The risks we all face today can be conquered by a good old-fashioned vigilance and shared know-how.

So, you’ve bought yourself a brand-new laptop. But, how will you keep this clean system safe when you go online? We, at SaferPass, show you the best ways to protect your new device, with our five tips.

 

1. Have a plan for your data

A regular backup routine is often overlooked as a cybersecurity principle. Backing up your data on your old computer will make moving to a new one heaps easier. Many operating systems will offer to import data for you from your backup sources while you’re setting up your new machine, streamlining the setup process even more. But to take advantage of that, you’ll need good backups, so make sure you have them.

This can include cloud-synced backups via services like DropBox, Carbonite, or iCloud, or physical backups onto an external hard drive. Mac users can do this on a schedule via Time Machine, and Windows 10 offers its automatic backup option under “Backup and Restore” in the Control Panel. 

2. Apply available updates immediately and make sure auto-updates are turned on

Probably the most crucial step to do is checking for the latest security updates and patches available for your operating system. To get security updates automatically, go to “Control Panel” on Windows or “System Settings” on a Mac and check if your automatic system updates are enabled.

Having patched software remains an essential key to improve online safety and security experts make a good case of emphasizing its importance. 

3. Install a password manager

Almost every website these days asks you to create an account and with that, ideally, a new unique password. Password reuse, according to cybersecurity professionals, is the easiest human habit to exploit as a vulnerability. It is then natural to become overwhelmed, especially when trying to remember passwords of websites like BuyYourFavoritePerfumeHere.com, that you may only use infrequently. 

Our SaferPass password manager does all the hard brain work for you, so that you can have ultra-secure and unique passwords, for every website, every time.  Your privacy is our top priority, which is the main reason why we do not store your Master Password on our data servers and every password and every account is deeply encrypted.

4. Get a security program in place

The internet presents probably the most significant  potential threat to the safety of your laptop, with malware, viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other nasties all eagerly looking for a vulnerable PC to infect. While Windows and macOS do come with built-in security features, to make your device secure you’ll want to invest in dedicated software. 

Antivirus software and VPN are essential no matter how careful you think you are on the internet. Even many free third-party security apps are effective at keeping you safe. PCmag tested 17 no-cost services to help you find the best free antivirus for protecting your PC.

5. Give everyone their own account

If you aren’t the only person who will be using the laptop, create a separate account for each person who will have an access to your PC.

Doing this stops you from accidentally deleting each others’ data and allows everyone to configure the computer in the way they like it.


 

This list above is meant to keep you safe online. But, at the same time, following these security tips mean that you also set up your system to work smoothly for online browsing and financial operations, activities you do every day.