September 20, 2017

A Guide to Windows 10 Security Settings

Windows 10 offers users a host of different security settings to help them keep their sensitive data and information safe and away from prying eyes looking to leak them onto the internet or give to one of your competitors if you are a business owner.

However, you would think the developers would have made it easier and less complicated for businesses to fully comprehend the security features of Windows 10. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When trying to access the security settings, users need to navigate from one window to another, thus resulting in confusion.

It would have been ten times better if every security setting was in one place, but no, it is scattered all over the place. Not to worry, we are here to help! Use the following guide to learn how to make Windows 10 secure:

1.     Access Windows 10 Security Settings

To access Windows 10 security settings, select the “Windows Key,” and click “Settings.” Return to the “Home Window,” select the “Gear Icon,” located in the upper left-hand corner, and select “Update and Security.”

2.     Update Windows

Under “Update and Security,” you will find “Windows Update.” Windows 10 checks and installs updates automatically. In doing so, it creates instability and can even create security risks. You have the option to manually uninstall an update. To prevent your computer from installing the update again, use this Microsoft tool.

Additionally, you can instruct Windows 10 to not install updates automatically or update a driver without permission. To prevent Windows 10 from automatically installing drivers, select “Windows Key,” type “Device Installation,” but without the quotes, select the first search result at the top, select the second “Radio Button” to get several options, click the second option to instruct Windows 10 to ignore all future updates for drivers.

Return to the “Windows Update” settings and select “Advanced Options” to modify how Windows 10 delivers system updates to you. You can specify a time you want Windows 10 to install system updates or instruct to install the updates when you are not using the computer. To remove an update or see a list of error messages, click on “View Your Update History,” located at the top.

3.     Manage Windows Defender

Under “Update and Security,” located in the left-hand section of the “Settings,” you can manage Windows Defender. Windows Defender is an anti-malware software, which you cannot completely disable, but can disable it for a certain duration. It offers real-time protection and you can leave the default settings as is.

4.     Backup Controls

Windows 10 offers backup controls for users to create backups for their data. However, the backups of data you create are not protected by a password. It is recommended you use the external hard drive’s backup software. Without passwords, you risk having your security breached and your data stolen and leaked.

If you want to recover your data after an error, select the “Tool,” select “System Image Backup,” located in the lower left hand side,” and select “Create a System Image,” located on the left. You can create the image backup on a USB, burn it on a DVD, or save to another drive.

5.     Protecting Backups with Passwords

The system image backup you created earlier is not protected by a password. If your run Windows 10 Professional on your computer, you can manually add a password. Right click a file, click “Properties,” select the “Advanced” button, and click the box next to “Encrypt Contents to Secure Data.”

To decrypt the file, enter the password. If you are using Windows 10 Home, you need to use WinZip or WinRar, as the option to encrypt a file is greyed out. Make sure you remember the password because these options do not offer you a way to recover your password.

6.     Securing Your Wi-Fi Sense

Return to the “Settings,” window, select “Network and Internet,” scroll down to the bottom, and select “Manage Wi-Fi Settings.” You can either connect to the recommended hotspots, but it is not advised, as hackers can easily gain access to your system.

The second option is network sharing. If you share your network with other people, which you would in a business setting, click that option to enable it, but do not give the password to your employees or anyone else for that matter. For this reason, businesses have security administrators who enter the password for employees to gain access to the internet.

7.     Cloud Data and Cortana

Cortana is a virtual assistant that helps users find information. You can communicate with Cortana by speaking to it or messaging it. By default, Cortana is disabled in Windows 10. If your focus is on security, do not turn on Cortana.

By turning on Microsoft’s assistant on, you allow it to collect data and information, which it then stores in the cloud. You can manage the information Cortana stores though. Select the “Windows Key,” type “Cortana,” but without the quotes, select “Cortana and Search Settings,” and select “Manage what Cortana Knows About Me in the Cloud.”

Doing this will take you to a website on Bing. Sign in to your Microsoft account. This will take you to the “Personalisation” section on Bing. You have the option to clean your history or “Interests,” which holds details on everything you have clicked on while using MSN, Bing, and Cortana.

In addition to this, you have the option to clean your entire search history on Bing as well as any data Cortana has recorded and stored such as calendar entries, contacts, location history, and browsing history. On the same page, you can disable the function that stores your search history. You can also clear all data stored in Bing Maps.

If you go to the bottom, you will come across several options. Use those options to manage how your system uses the data collected and stored from Xbox, Outlook, OneDrive, and Microsoft’s own platform for advertising.

It is important for both individuals and businesses to take measures to protect their information and data from potential hackers who might try to infiltrate the system, steal it, and misuse it.

by Bobby J Davidson

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