Laptop computers have become an essential resource for both work and personal usage, and their mobility makes them incredibly handy. However, we should constantly be mindful of the security concerns associated with laptop loss or theft and take appropriate measures. The possible loss is quite simple: the loss of the laptop itself, as well as any personal, private, or sensitive information stored on it.
Never leave your business laptop alone in public or in places that aren’t entirely secure. Laptops may be readily taken from a secured office desk, an Internet cafe, or even a hotel room and you can rent laptops from the rental company. Or it could be hacked, break or malfunctioned. Therefore, make sure to take all safety precautions to secure your laptop. Here are a few fast and straightforward actions you can take to improve the security of your laptop.
Even if you’re the only one who uses your laptop, be sure you have your user account set up. It will prevent anyone else from accessing it. Even if your laptop is stolen or has a password-protected user account, the thief’s options are limited to resetting it and deleting the data.
Because Microsoft and Apple understand how essential it is, it will be impossible to set up a new laptop without a user account, but avoid sharing accounts with others or leaving them unsecured. Accounts in Windows (through the cog icon on the Start menu) and Users & Groups on macOS (under the Apple menu) are where you may manage user accounts.
Use a password or code that no one else will be able to guess (but that you will remember), and avoid repeating passwords that you already use on other digital accounts. You should also configure your laptop to return to the lock screen after a brief time of inactivity.
Both Windows and macOS now allow biometric authentication for user accounts on laptops, including fingerprint and face recognition, so make use of these capabilities when they’re available. They are not an excuse to forget your primary account password since you will still need it in some instances, such as when you restart your laptop or when you need to make significant changes to the system.
If something bad would happen as your laptop gets into the wrong hands, both Windows and macOS provide features that allow you to locate your machine on a map and remotely lock it. We wouldn’t advise tracking down the individual who has it without the assistance of law enforcement, but locking your laptop or wiping it of any sensitive information (which is accessible on macOS) is a smart idea.
On Windows, go to Settings > Update & Security > Find my device and ensure the function is turned on. If you and your laptop become separated, sign in to your Microsoft account on the web and navigate to Devices, then Find My Device. When it comes to Windows, you can’t remotely delete your device, but you may lock it so it can’t be accessed without a password.
On macOS, the function is named “Find My” but you must first enroll your Mac in the Find My service—from System Preferences, select Apple ID, then iCloud, and then Options next to Find My Mac. You’ll be able to find your laptop as long as the Find My Mac entry in the list is checked.
Find My is available as an app on your iPhone or iPad, and you may also access it via iCloud on the web. You can remotely lock a MacBook, delete anything on it, or designate it as lost (which displays a custom message on the screen if you want to try and get it back, as well as muting incoming notifications on the laptop).
This is likely the most effective line of security against both theft and cyber assaults. Encryption is the most effective type of laptop security. Login passwords alone do not ensure security: thieves may remove your laptop’s hard drive and access information directly, and skilled hackers can bypass your operating system’s login screen.
Encryption transforms files and data into code, masking their real contents and making it far more difficult for hackers to steal your data. Encrypting your hard drive prevents hackers and criminals from booting your laptop or accessing any data on the hard disc without entering the right encryption key.
Consequently, encryption provides a strong barrier against unauthorized access—though you may wish to keep the encryption key on a different device, such as a USB drive or your phone.
If something were to happen to your files, having a current backup of your data may be the difference between an annoyance and a tragedy. Data backup is made possible through cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive and operating systems such as Windows and macOS. External devices, such as USBs and external hard drives, can also be used.
Whatever technique you use, the important thing is to back up your data frequently, especially after producing files that you can’t afford to lose. Encrypting your backups, like your hard disc, is a good idea for maximum security.
From ransomware attacks to stolen computers, backing up your data is critical to ensure that you do not lose what is important. You may choose between a local backup and a cloud backup.
Apple’s Time Machine functionality is available on macOS and may be used for local backups. On Windows, you may use Microsoft’s backup program or a more user-friendly application, such as the famous EaseUS Todo Backup.
Nothing is worse for your privacy than a RAT (Remote Administration Tool), such as the infamous DarkComet, which turns on your camera to spy on you. LED next to your camera should always be on when the camera is turned on, hackers have found a way to deactivate it on both Windows and macOS.
The only failsafe alternative for keeping voyeurs at bay is to install a physical cover on top of the camera that can be removed as needed. I’ve tested several covers over the years, and the Spyslide cover financed on Indiegogo is my favorite because of its quality and portability. It fits wonderfully on my MacBook, and I’m thinking about getting one for my iPad and phone as well.
Use a VPN service to safeguard your privacy when using public Wi-Fi and prevent your internet provider from recording your browser history (a virtual private network). The VPN encrypts the data between you and the VPN server, making it difficult for anyone on the same network to monitor what you’re doing.
Because your social, professional, and financial accounts are almost certainly accessible from your laptop, it is critical to implement online security measures to secure them. When you use multi-factor authentication, attackers will be unable to access your accounts even if they have the right login credentials.
But not all authentication factors provide equivalent security. Online account providers often transmit six-digit verification numbers to use phones as a sort of authentication, but attackers may simply intercept these messages and use the codes themselves.
Hard tokens, such as YubiKeys, add an extra layer of security to laptops. You may authenticate web logins alongside or instead of your password by connecting this laptop security device to your laptop. YubiKey-based authentication is supported by a wide range of popular online services, from Windows to Google. YubiKeys cannot be replicated or interfered with by attackers, but you must retain them in your possession.
To prevent others from snooping if you leave your laptop alone for a few minutes, set the screensaver to activate automatically and require a password to exit. Here’s how to accomplish it on a Mac and a Windows computer.
Update your apps, browser, and laptop security software.
Company laptops often come pre-installed with antivirus software, which handles the hard job for end users. Still, there are a few things you can do to secure your computers when it comes to laptop security software.
To begin, keep a close eye on what you download—files and updates with unusual language or extensions may be dangerous. If in doubt, scan any files before opening them with your company’s antivirus software. Browsers such as Chrome and Firefox may update automatically but restarting them regularly will ensure that security updates are applied.
Similarly, enabling auto-update or manually upgrading your operating system and apps would assist in reducing vulnerabilities.
Viral detection relies on having up-to-date virus signatures and definitions. Therefore, it’s preferable to utilize software that includes automatic definition updates. If that functionality is not accessible, establish a reminder for yourself to manually update these definitions on your system regularly.