Use This Essential Checklist to Secure Your New Laptop from Threats

In your excitement to use your new laptop, don’t forget to establish its defenses. Your new machine is vulnerable to online and offline threats – from malware and hackers on the Internet, to crooks on the streets looking to break into your computer and steal your data.   

1. Beef Up Sign-in Security

Anyone with access to your laptop can steal your identity. After you take a few minutes to admire your newly arrived machine, beef up the sign-in security. Take advantage of powerful biometric verification options like fingerprint and retina scan. Set a complex sign-in password with symbols and numbers to make it harder for others to break into your operating system. Likewise, use complex passwords and two-step-verification to secure your online credentials from cybercriminals.

2. Check for Updates

Although your laptop is new, it’s unlikely to have the latest software and security updates released after it left the factory. After all, new operating system updates release constantly. Check for the latest updates, even if the process takes time. With just a little patience, you’ll have the most secure version of your operating system. 

3. Raise Your Firewall

Before downloading any programs, enable your firewall. A firewall is a network security system that functions as a barrier between your computer and the Internet. It controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on your security rules by managing your computer ports. Your firewall only opens ports to trusted programs when needed.

Sign up with a credible Virtual Private Network (VPN) service for another layer of defense around your laptop’s web traffic. A VPN protects your privacy and security on the Internet by encrypting your data and masking your IP address. A VPN is especially useful for laptops because it secures public WiFi connections. Without a VPN, public WiFi is too risky to use.  

4. Download Advanced Cybersecurity Software

Use advanced cybersecurity software to protect your computer from malware like viruses, ransomware, adware, spyware, trojans, and more. Malicious software can steal your data and slow your new laptop down.

5. Remove Bloatware

Many new computers come with unwanted software. This preloaded software comes courtesy of your computer’s manufacturer and its advertising partners. Bloatware is rarely useful, with its best features usually stuck behind a paywall. Bloatware often carries malware like adware, which tracks your behavior and targets you with annoying popup ads. Bloatware also slows down your system. 

Remove bloatware by uninstalling it from your list of programs. Unfortunately, some bloatware is nearly impossible to remove manually. To remove particularly stubborn bloatware, try the right removal tools

6. Don’t Hand Out Permissions

A variety of software asks for permission to track your data in order to target you with ads, products, and services. Take charge of your privacy. Minimize third-party access to data such as your browsing history, location, camera, and microphone by responding to permission requests with caution. Take advantage of the robust security settings in your web browser to further protect your laptop from privacy threats.

It’s tempting to get started with your brand-new laptop without paying attention to its security. However, this can be a recipe for disaster. Hackers and malware can steal every ounce of joy from the experience of owning a new device. Be proactive, set your defenses, and enjoy your time on your new computer.