Laptops are very practical machines that combine great capacity and portability, allowing you to bring your work wherever you go.
However, laptop users need to be extra careful with their devices to avoid loss of information, or security issues. Apart from theft, there are other dangers that lurk which could compromise the data you keep on your laptop. If someone with good technical skills and bad intentions gets a hold of your device, they can easily extract information using a flash drive.
Even if you don’t leave you laptop unattended at any time, you still need to be careful when using public Wi-Fi since malicious users can try to access your personal information and intercept your private conversations.
Laptops are convenient for work, entertainment, communication and more. Their portability is an advantage, but it also makes them more vulnerable to attack from random people. While you can carry all your files and use powerful applications while you travel, the fact that you connect to different networks puts your information at risk. This is particularly worrying considering the fact that we are likely to access online banking and other services that contain confidential data.
In order to improve the security of your laptop, there are certain tips that you can follow. Here is how you can protect your data while taking advantage of the convenience of your laptop.
Enhance Laptop Security
Never Leave Your Laptop Unattended
As simple and obvious as it sounds, one of the easiest ways to put your data in danger is leaving your laptop behind, or not keeping an eye on it when you are in a public place. You may think that you are careful at all times, but it only takes a moment of distraction to lose your laptop and all the information it holds. Airports are the most likely places to lose a laptop, as passengers rush to be on time for their flight and may leave it behind, only to realize that they are missing it when is too late. It is important to mind your belongings in public places, especially when it comes to laptops and mobile devices.
After all, they have data that in many cases would be irreplaceable
Use a VPN service
Public Wi-Fi can be convenient when you need to send an important email, or browse while you’re on a train. Nowadays it is possible to find Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, airports, public transport and many other places. The problem is sharing the connection with other users, who could potentially be an attacker waiting to hack you. In spite of their benefits, Wi-Fi hotspots are vulnerable to security risks.
Thankfully though, VPNs can give you peace of mind while you connect to public networks. A VPN connection encrypts your data, protecting it from eavesdroppers. Your email messages, conversations and your online activity will remain private. Furthermore, the best VPN services include firewall protection to keep you safe from hacking attempts.
A simple and effective way to safeguard the information that your keep in your laptop is to add password protection. All you need to do is to create a Windows or OSX password for your account. Configure settings to make sure that the password is requested whenever the computer is restarted, after sleep mode/ hibernation, or when it comes back from the screen saver after a period of inactivity.
By setting up a password, you can make things more difficult for anyone who attempts to access your information without your consent. Keep in mind that to ensure that the password can really protect your laptop, it should be strong and difficult to guess.
Enhance the Protection of Your Files
To further increase the security of your data, you can use passwords to protect important files and folders on your system.
Protecting documents and folders that contain sensitive information is simple and it could make all the difference in case your laptop falls in the wrong hands. Encrypting your whole drive will ensure that your confidential files remain safe even if your laptop is stolen. Applications like TrueCrypt (open source and compatible with OS X, Windows and Linux) and BitLocker, which supports Windows 7/8, are effective solutions to encrypt your hard drive.
Consider Using a Laptop Lock
Another simple alternative to protect your laptop is to use a physical lock. There is a good selection of locking mechanisms that are compatible with different brands and models that can prevent a laptop from being stolen. A lock adds security and makes it harder for thieves to run away with your laptop.
Update the Security of your Laptop
Fraudsters are coming up with new ways to exploit the vulnerabilities of your system, so it’s important to stay ahead of the game. Make sure that your laptop is protected with advanced security tools. Also carry out regular updates on the applications that you generally use.
This will reduce the risks for you and will improve the security of your information.
Disable CD-ROM Drive / USB ports
Unfortunately, technology is often used for bad purposes, and there are many programs that allow a fraudster to bypass password protection. Since this kind of software usually requires the attacker to run a copy using a USB stick or disc, it is advisable to disable USB and CD boot options while you are on the go. You can disable them from the UEFI or BIOS to avoid attacks and keep your data protected, without affecting the overall performance of your laptop.