Like PCs and other mobile devices, a laptop without security measures make them targets in both business and personal settings. A vulnerable laptop can be stolen, destroyed or infected, which in turn opens the gate for the theft or erasure of personal information, company data and more.
Beef up your laptop security by applying a few of these options:
Set up your laptop to prompt you for a password each time the laptop is turned on or after coming back from another mode (sleep, screensaver). When coming up with a password, use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. SplashData’s 2017 list of the most common passwords revealed that many users are leaving themselves vulnerable by sticking to common strings of letters and numbers, so try to think more outside of the box that do (even better if it doesn’t include anything personal like a name or date).
When you set up a router for personal use, customize the name that appears when accessing the Wi-Fi and create a strong password to make yourself a less obvious target for someone looking to hijack a connection. Hackers can also take advantage of public networks to spread malware or position themselves between users and the internet to obtain private information. If you use the internet on your laptop in public spaces, invest in a virtual private network (VPN) to create a secure pathway for your laptop to reach the internet.
Technology evolves fast, meaning that devices and software can quickly become obsolete and vulnerable to new and more sophisticated threats. Fortunately, software updates help users keep their systems up-to-date and safe. Do not ignore system updates that can include your firewall, programs and applications, as these often include patches that address security vulnerabilities and bugs.
Secured Wireless Devices
Many laptop users utilize wireless mice and keyboards; some designs have not been secured against hacking. Threats like MouseJack can intercept the signals sent between these wireless products and the USB dongle attached to a laptop, allowing a hacker to take control of a user’s computer or find information by monitoring keystrokes and clicks. Simply put, do your research before buying. Ensure your wireless products are safe, and consider options that offer the use of more secure wireless technology like Bluetooth.
Security and Encryption Tools
Security and encryption tools will come in handy when it comes to the day-to-day monitoring of a laptop. Security software offers a range of tools from virus scanning to password protection to ensure your laptop is running efficiently. Encryption tools also provide additional protection by blocking anyone from accessing your files without a password.
Investing in software with remote access options can be a lifesaver if your laptop is stolen or misplaced. You can purchase software that will remotely erase data or a tracking app or device that will be able to locate your laptop.
Backing up important data to a secure cloud platform makes it less likely that information will get stolen or erased if your laptop does get taken or infected, and ensures recovery. You can also use an external hard drive to keep files in a secure location that can be accessed without your laptop.
Physical Security Tools
You never know what can happen when you carry your laptop around. A cover will protect against physical damage and a webcam will prevent potential monitoring. Add another layer of protection with a laptop locking cable to lock your laptop in place when you’re in a public space. If you really have trouble keeping an eye on your laptop, you may also want to consider a proximity alarm to alert you when you’re too far away from your equipment.
A compromised, broken or stolen laptop can mean a big loss for a business, and continues to serve as a major threat in terms of personal security and privacy for individual users. Regardless, each method of securing a laptop comes with a variety of options based on user needs and budget; try a few options or add them to a bigger security plan, and you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of potential disaster in the future.
For businesses looking for more details relating to cybersecurity threats and security measures, download our eBook, What Makes a Good Cybersecurity Defense for a Modern SMB?