Posted on 31 March 2020

Keep your computer secure at home

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Now lots of us are working from home, there are a few things you should be checking to ensure you aren’t a weak link for hackers into your Office. 

Following the Government’s latest orders, all workers who can work from home, should be working from home. For some employees without access to a company laptop, this could mean using home/personal computers or laptops to complete your remote working. If this is you or one of your employees, there are a few things you should be checking to ensure you aren’t a weak link for hackers into your Office or stealing your personal information, usernames and passwords.  

 

Tips to protect your computer 

All software should be kept up to date 
At the moment, software providers including Microsoft, GoogleApple etc are doing their best NOT to roll out new updates that may affect your ability to work remotely. If you are operating Windows 10 your PC, the PC will be completing all updates for you in the background. If you have Windows 7, there are no new security updates available. That said you should check your automatic updates are turned on to keep Windows, Microsoft Office, and other Microsoft applications up to date. Turn on automatic updates for non-Microsoft software as well, especially browsers, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and other apps you regularly use. 

Turn on automatic updates in Windows Update 

Use a firewall
Note that Windows 10 and Windows 8 have a firewall already built in and it is automatically turned on. 

Use antivirus software and keep it current
If you run Windows 10 or Windows 8, you have Windows Security or Windows Defender Security Center already installed on your device. Please ask your IT department before running any new Antivirus software on your machine as it may impact your ability to work, or they will be able to set expectations. 

Don’t download software to make your home PC ‘faster’
There are several malicious sites and applications which promise they can make your home PC run fasterAs a general rule of thumb, these do not work. Please contact your IT partner if you are finding your device is slow. 

Make sure your passwords are protected
Password6 is not a good or acceptable password. Nor is companyname1 or anything else which can easily be hacked intoWe have said this plenty of times and will continue to say it – please ensure you are using a decent passwordHow do you think of one? Looking around my kitchen now I can see an Easiyo, squash, knife, soda stream so a good password would be 
Easiyoknifesodastream. The longer the better but watch out for phishing emails where you could hand over any passwords to malicious actors.

To learn how, see Protect your passwords. 

Don’t open suspicious attachments or click unusual links in messages
They can appear in email, tweets, posts, online ads, messages, or attachments, and sometimes disguise themselves as known and trusted sources. 

Browse the web safely
Avoid visiting sites that offer potentially illicit content. Many of these sites install malware or offer downloads that contain malware. Use a modern browser, which can help block malicious websites and prevent malicious code from running on your computer. 

Stay away from pirated material
You may be used to streaming pirated material on your home devices, for now give it a break, invest in Disney Play. Avoid streaming or downloading movies, music, books, or applications that do not come from trusted sources. 

Do not use USBs or other external devices unless you own them
To avoid infection by malware and viruses, ensure that all external devices either belong to you or come from a reliable source. 

 

Protect yourself from scams 

When you read email, use social media, or browse the web, you should be wary of scams that try to steal your personal information (also known as identity theft), your money, or both. Many of these scams are known as “phishing scams” because they “fish” for your information. Find out how to protect yourself from phishing scams and avoid tech support scams. 

 

Prevent and remove malware 

One important step toward greater workplace security is to protect your computer against malware. 

 

Other ways to remove and check for malware 

To assist all Windows customers, including those who are not running Windows Security, Microsoft provides several malware removal solutions. 

Windows Defender Offline 

Windows Defender Offline runs outside of Windows to remove rootkits and other threats that hide from the Windows operating system. This tool uses a small, separate operating environment, where evasive threats are unable to hide from antimalware scanners. 

With Windows 10, Windows Defender Offline is built into the operating system and can run from Windows Security. It is provided as a separate download for previous versions of Windows. 

Learn more about Windows Defender Offline 

Microsoft Safety Scanner 

Microsoft Safety Scanner provides full and comprehensive on-demand antimalware scans. It offers robust offline scan and cleanup capabilities. However, it does not provide the real-time and cloud-based protection that is available with Windows Security. 

Safety Scanner covers both prevalent and less notable threats. It is recommended as a more robust alternative to the Malicious Software Removal Tool. 

Download Safety Scanner