Security in a virtual world is something that should always be our top priority. Since the dawn of the internet, there have been those that code viruses, and those that code against them. People seeking out security holes and exploits, and others that are trying to patch those same faults with their variety of blockers, firewalls, and scanners. Welcome back to #TechTuesday! This week we're going to tell you why you no longer need to pay those costs.
Security Built In
Now, we want to preface this by saying we do not by any means recommend any user goes without some sort of protection. Data security should be a massive priority in this connected world, and keeping your own data secure is an every day task. No matter how smart you might be on a computer, nobody catches every single thing worming its way into their secure environment. However, with the release of modern operating systems such as Windows 10 and Android, the need for those aftermarket and expensive subscriptions to services such as Norton, McAfee, and Kaspersky are no longer a requirement.
You see, there are some basic steps to keeping your computer a secure environment, things that every user should be taking into consideration. We here at S-FX use an entirely Windows based desktop environment on Windows 10, Microsoft's newest operating system release. To keep ourselves secure, we first make sure all of our updates are run on a nightly schedule. While many opinions might tell you that it is tedious or unnecessary to update your computer with every single update, you have to consider something. Why are you getting pushed a security update in the first place? The answer is that there is a security hole. No software is flawless, and there are people constantly searching for flaws in that environment, even some that are paid by Microsoft to do just that. Passing up on those updates can open your computer and your data to a plethora of attacks from malware, viruses, and trojan horses that will log your information or destroy your data. By setting up a scheduled task to update your computer outside your office hours, you're keeping yourself the most up to date you can and the most secure. Besides, some of those updates may include some new features for your environment, or a better stability for your machine. Complaining about a slow PC? Sometimes updates can be a good thing to help that!
With the upgrades that come with Windows 10, you also get access to the free, pre-activated security suite developed by Microsoft; Windows Defender. Integrated right into Windows 10, kept recent by the Windows Updates, Windows Defender is one of the best solutions for security on the market these days. It is simple, concise, and has features for advanced users such as quarantining files, and scheduling scans to run at set intervals. You get access to this suite just for having the operating system too! Though older versions of windows do not have access to the exact same software, you can get their alternative Microsoft Security Essentials from their website, which acts nearly the same as Defender. Both are kept up to date with current virus database definitions, and provide thorough scanning. While some people might swear by other services such as Norton because "cost means better", we would like to remind you that paying more for a "premium" service does not necessarily equate to a higher quality service in every scenario. A lot can be achieved with the integrated, free systems that come with your operating system, so long as you think ahead to schedule routine scans that run in addition to the real time protection features.
Now of course, there are circumstances where your basic protection might not catch something, as it might fall outside of certain definitions of the database. For that, we always advise using a third party program bi-weekly or monthly, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware's free edition to perform extra scans, just in case. This type of software is not something you would run simultaneously with your Windows Defender, as you never want to run multiple security suites at once; They will often counteract each other and cause errors. But a periodic extra scan can go a long way to keeping your machine secure.
If you're concerned about your mobile devices, such as your phone or tablet, you might be consoled a bit by the fact that mobile operating systems such as Android and iOs are far more locked down than your desktop environment. So long as you are keeping the system up to date, and installing applications only through official channels such as the Google Play Store and Apple App Market, and not gathering them from unofficial sources, you will keep yourself free of most vulnerabilities. While nothing in the security world is 100% unhackable, even with the latest and greatest security software, you generally can forgo those apps on your phone that claim they will act as an anti-virus. They tend to leech battery with no real added benefit in the long run. Keeping your phone on official channels, adding a pin lock, and keeping yourself informed of any privacy issues based on your settings are the best way to keep yourself secure.
Nothing in security is ever 100%, but with proper precautions and use of the tools integrated right into your modern system, you can keep a good peace of mind when it comes to data security.