Windows is a group of several proprietary graphical operating system families, all of which are developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies
Features of Windows Operating System (OS)
Here is a list important features of OS:
- Protected and supervisor mode
- Allows disk access and file systems Device drivers Networking Security
- Program Execution
- Memory management Virtual Memory Multitasking
- Handling I/O operations
- Manipulation of the file system
- Error Detection and handling
- Resource allocation
- Information and Resource Protection
Almost all exploits against operating systems and applications involve at least one of the following:
- Legacy OS with existing known exploits
- Unpatched system with existing known exploits
- Weak credentials – OS and applications
- Default credentials – OS and applications
- Misconfigured system
- Unpatched application with existing known exploits
- Misconfigured application
- Security not enabled
How to Reduce Your Attack Surface
- Set up antivirus and malware protection. This can protect users from known threats.
- Run vulnerability scans. Periodic scans help find misconfigured applications, systems, and unpatched software. Integrate your vulnerability scanner into a PAM solution to ensure it has credentials to scan systems fully and provide a complete view of your attack surface. Ensure all USB devices are properly scanned.
- Create multiple network layers and segmentation. Defense-in-depth strategies limit an attacker’s ability to move around. Create blockers between different networks for public-facing applications, services, production servers, data vaults, operations systems, managed employee devices, and bring your own devices. BYOD, which today is more like bring your own office (BYOO), is sometimes referred to as “Bring Your Own Disaster.”
- Train users. Document and share security policies. Hold periodic security training focused on specific threats.
- Secure passwords. Get employees into the habit of using a PAM solution. Reduce one of the biggest causes of cyber fatigue by automating password creation and rotation. Ensure password complexity and integration with SSO and MFA.
- Control access for supply chain and third parties. Take a least privilege and zero-trust approach to your third-party access. Force third parties to access via a PAM solution so you know who they are, what they’ll be doing, and what approvals are required before they’re permitted access.
Security Best Practices for Your Windows 10 Computer
Windows 10 comes with tons of great features for your business, including privacy and security tools for hardening your computer. This guide gives you our top tips and best practices for securing your computer and business operations. Many of these tips are pretty straightforward, free, or even seem deceptively simple. But together, these give you the essential cybersecurity tools and best practices for Windows 10 computers at your business.
Features that someone might consider “convenient” for everyday use can, unfortunately, make it easy for hackers to access your PC. For computers with access to large customer databases or government systems, optimizing your security settings is a critical task. Failure to properly secure your computer can leave you exposed and at risk of cyber-attacks by bad actors. Businesses’ looking to mitigate risks on the employee and organizational level should get compliant with industry standards and frameworks like soc2 and ISO 27001 because they were designed to help companies demonstrate and prove their commitment to security.
These days companies develop information security policies, which set guidelines and communicate anything employees are responsible for doing. If your business uses Carbide’s app to manage your infosec program, you can sign in and review your company policies. It’s simple to check any procedures in our guide below that you should follow.
So let’s look at these tips to set up your computer to protect yourself and your data.
How Can You Harden Your PC?
Hardening your Windows 10 computer means that you’re configuring the security settings. This reduces opportunities for a virus, hacker, ransomware, or another kind of cyberattack. Our guide here includes how to use antivirus tools, disable auto-login, turn off remote access, set up encryption, and more.
You can think about security for your computer (with all your personal, financial, or company data), much like you’d think about security for your house. Hardening your PC is like you’re closing the doors and checking the locks. You want to make it harder for hackers to break in.
It might be convenient to leave the front door to your house unlocked or even open all the time. That way, you could avoid the hassle of carrying keys or even bothering with doorknobs. But doesn’t that go against the common sense we live by every day? We learn at a young age to close the door and lock it when you leave.
Leaving your door wide open is like an invitation for anyone to walk into your house. You’d make yourself an easy target for burglary.
Guide for Security Best Practices for Windows 10
Many of the settings or features we have on our computers function like “doors.” There are several different entrances and ways to access your PC as if they were doors that you could close and lock. Or doors that you can leave wide open, leaving your house vulnerable, so anyone can walk in and do whatever they want with your computer and personal data.
Access to your computer means they could steal or erase your data. They can encrypt your hard drive with ransomware and threaten to wipe your data unless you pay a ransom fee. They could install malicious code that corrupts your entire system. Or they could connect to all the computers in your company network and cause widespread damage to your business.
You can use the below security best practices like a checklist for hardening your computer. With a couple of changes from the Control Panel and other techniques, you can make sure you have all security essentials set up to harden your operating system.
PC Hardening Guide: Protect Your Windows 10 Computer from Hackers, Viruses, Ransomware, and More
1. Disable Windows 10 automatic login.
This is one of the first settings that you should change or check on your computer.
When you first set up a new PC with Windows 10, you create a user account. By default, your new account is set to log in automatically at startup. If you’re at home all the time or don’t have access to any sensitive data, then this might not be a problem. But it can create a serious security risk if anyone can open your computer, then immediately get access to your data and company systems. This is especially important if you travel with a laptop, bringing it with you to places like a coffee shop, airport, or open co-working spaces.
Depending on the security policies at your company, this may also be something your employer requires.
It is easy to disable, so in only a few steps, you can turn off auto-login.
2. Set a password with your screensaver.
There’s no reason someone in your office, home, or travel location should be able to access your system if you step away for a few minutes. It’s a good idea to make sure your PC automatically locks after a set period of inactivity.
While it’s actually a security setting, you’ll find it inside the “Appearances and Personalization” section within your Control Panel. You can turn this on when you adjust your screensaver settings. It’s easy to choose the time until a screensaver displays, set the screen saver, and turn on the setting that brings you back to the login screen when you come back.
Security starts with following the most basic protocols. So make sure you password protect your PC.
3. Turn on your firewall.
In recent versions of Windows operating systems, including Windows 10, your firewall is enabled by default. Easy enough! You’re probably all set here. But it doesn’t hurt to check your settings to make sure your firewall wasn’t turned off.
Windows Firewall is a built-in network security system. It’s designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from your private network.
Network firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet would pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks any that don’t meet the specified security criteria.
Disable remote access.
In Windows 10, you have the Windows Remote Desktop feature that allows you (or others!) to connect to your computer remotely over a network connection. Remote access allows someone to control everything on your computer as if they are directly connected to it.
Unfortunately, hackers can exploit windows remote desktop In more than one cyberattack, criminals have gained to tried to gain control of remote systems, installed malware, or stolen databases full of personal information.
By default, the feature is disabled. Once enabled, however, it’s easy for you to disable it again. You want to keep the remote access feature turned off, except when you are actively using it.
4. Enable auto-updates for your operating system.
You should install urgent security updates right away. Some Carbide patches are critical fixes for protecting you from a new type of malware or cyberattack.
Your company may have a security policy about updating your operating system too. You’ll want to see if you’re supposed to install updates right away, or if your IT team will tell you when you should install updates. Depending on your company, your IT team may be responsible for updating your operating system.
Ultimately, don’t be that person who ignores operating system updates for critical security patches. (Even if you heard about a design change that you might not like). Microsoft does keep it relatively simple by setting up two different types of updates: quality updates, feature updates. They’ve long also kept a schedule for updates, known in the IT world as Patch Tuesday.
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