More than 1.4 billion Windows users worldwide run their devices on Windows 10 or 11. Considering this enormous figure, hackers will always prefer to target Windows users. And if users do not evaluate the current threats, they could suffer significant losses.
Hackers are cunning; they know the common mistakes users tend to make. These are the first opportunities for exploitation. The consequences include data theft, financial losses, malware, and others.
Things you need to assess for Windows security
This article discusses some cyber habits that can make your Windows PC vulnerable to hackers. Check all these parameters to ensure you never get looted by hackers.
Not updating software and operating systems
Most Windows users’ biggest mistake is not updating their software and operating systems. Microsoft releases patches and updates regularly to fix vulnerabilities in Windows, but if you don’t update your software, you’re leaving your PC open to attacks.
However, the main issue occurs when people use outdated operating systems. One survey in 2021 revealed that 1 in 10 computers still run Windows 7. Whether nostalgia or convenience, delaying such updates is never a wise idea.
Not having anti-virus software
Another mistake is not having anti-virus software installed on your PC. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for unprotected devices. If your PC doesn’t have an anti-virus, then it’s like leaving your door open for them to walk in.
There are many reliable anti-virus applications on the market. But if you don’t want to spend money on them, you can always use the Windows Defender that comes pre-installed in Windows.
Although many users believe it not to be enough, it continues to prove its worth and ability to be included among the best anti-virus tools.
Using public Wi-Fi without a Virtual Private Network
Public Wi-Fi is very convenient because it’s free and available almost everywhere. But the problem is that public Wi-Fi can be dangerous, and hackers could exploit them. For instance, evil twins could be set up to mimic reliable networks in hopes that people connect to the fake hotspots. In other cases, free Wi-Fi does not always encrypt connections, meaning that outside parties could monitor or intercept it.
A VPN for Windows is one of the best solutions to protect your device. It encrypts traffic, preventing monitoring and intercepting of traffic. Additionally, it creates a secure path between your device and the VPN server. It keeps all your data encrypted while passing through any network. So, even if a hacker manages to see what you do online, the data exchange will be scrambled due to robust encryption protocols.
Not updating the apps regularly
Apps are the most common way for hackers to enter your Windows PC. They use apps that you trust, such as your web browser, to launch attacks on your PC.
That’s why it’s essential to update the apps regularly. Most app developers release updates with bug fixes and new features. And these updates often contain security patches to fix vulnerabilities in the app.
You need to go to the Microsoft Store to check for the updates of the apps you have downloaded through it. Go to – Microsoft Store > Taskbar > Libraries, and there you will have a list of apps that need an update.
If you have downloaded third-party apps on your PC, you can still update them. You need to open that apps’ settings and look for the updates.
Not performing system scans
Performing a system scan is the best way to detect and remove any malware or virus from your PC. Hackers often use malware and viruses to gain access to your PC, so it’s important to scan your PC regularly for these threats.
Windows provides two ways to scan your PC for malware and viruses: Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials.
Windows Defender is the built-in anti-malware software in Windows, and it’s turned on by default. But if it’s not activated, go to Settings > Update and security > Windows Defender. Then turn on the “Real-time protection” option.
Microsoft Security Essentials is anti-virus software that you can download from Microsoft Store. It’s free and provides better protection than Windows Defender.
Unencrypted hard disk
Another mistake that people make is not encrypting their hard disk. If your hard disk is not encrypted, anyone who gets access to it can see all your data.
Windows provides an encryption feature called BitLocker. BitLocker is turned off by default, but you can turn it on and encrypt your hard disk. To turn on BitLocker, go to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption.
Not using a strong password for your Microsoft Account
If you’re using a Microsoft account to log in to your PC, creating a strong password is crucial. A strong password cannot be guessed easily and contains at least ten characters.
To create a strong password, you can use a random password generator. Many online tools generate strong passwords for you. Moreover, be mindful of never sharing your Microsoft account. Keep your account to yourself, and avoid logging in with your ID on any random device.
These are some cyber habits that can make your Windows PC vulnerable to hackers. Avoiding these habits will help keep your PC safe from attacks. So, be mindful of these habits and stay safe online.