New laptop/computer cyber threat protection checklist

New computer/laptop cyber threat protection checklist

Ensure to complete this checklist before you use or start surfing the Internet on your new computer/laptop. The checklist applies to most scenarios. But you can post a comment if you have a specific need or question.

The checklist is provided under the CDSBureau Information Use Policy. You agree to this policy if you read or apply the following information.

  • Create two standard/restricted user accounts. Most attacks happen through malicious website, links, email attachments, or outdated software. The threat becomes more dangerous if you are surfing the Internet or reading emails using an administrator privileges account. CDSBureau recommends to use standard/restricted user access accounts for Internet surfing. These accounts can not install a software or make changes to the computer. So create two standard/restricted access user accounts. Use one for banking, your business, or other sensitive Internet browsing. Use the other for everyday internet browsing like news, shopping and social media. NEVER surf internet through computer’s administrator account.
  • Secure the network. Ensure that the network you’ll connect your computer to is secured. See how to secure a network here.
  • Enable and configure a firewall. Firewall controls the information flow between your computer and the Internet. It protects unauthorized data flow between the two. More info.
  • Install Anti Virus and Anti Spam software. Check with your internet service provider if they provide these software for free. Most of them do. More info on Anti Virus and Anti Spam software.
  • Install web browser in user accounts individually. Don’t install web browser using administrator account. Because it’ll run under administrator privileges giving an attacker more access to your machine resources. Download a copy from the Internet and uninstall the browser from the administrator account. Now go to every user account and install the browser without providing administrator password, even if the installer asks for it. This will make the browser local and will not let an attacker access browsers in other users’ accounts.
  • Secure the web browser. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox are various web browsers that are used to surf the Internet. They are not secured by default and can allow plugins and websites to execute remote codes. Secure them using these instructions.
  • Setup an external backup. Get an external hard drive and configure it to take a full backup before moving to next step. Create a system image on the backup drive. Take backup periodically. Disconnect the backup drive when not in use. Periodic backup helps in restoring data when needed.
  • Create a bootable disc. This disc will help you to boot your PC if anything goes wrong with the computer hard drive.
  • Remove unnecessary software. You’ll not need all installed software so remove what you’ll never use like games, unnecessary apps, and free 30 day trial software. You’ll not be able to keep unused software current over time. This will let attackers exploit outdated software to attack your system.  Be careful when removing the software. If you are not sure about a software, search the Internet or ask from CDSBureau. If for any reason your PC becomes unusable, boot it from the bootable disc and restore it from the backup drive.
  • Disable unnecessary computer features. You’ll not need all computer features for example Bluetooth and sending file to a remote computer. Disable them because they may allow cyber thieves to steal information or compromise your computer. Take precaution when disabling these features.
  • Apply patches and updates. Your machine may come with outdated software. Visit your vendor website and update all outdated software/drivers and configure them for auto updates unless you have specific needs that prevent you from automatic updates.
  • Turn automatic updates on for all installed software. This will avoid a need of manual updates. If for any reasons you can not allow auto updates, then turn on software update notifications to receive notifications. Software patches must be installed as soon as they become available. Most attacks include Petya and Equifax are carried using vulnerabilities in a non patched software.
  • Congratulations you are now ready to connect to the Internet.

CDSBureau Inc. and its community are here to help you safeguard your business and home. Feel free to post comments or questions.

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