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What is the best way to keep my laptop safe?

Like from hackers, people who steal my cookies, that kind of stuff. #college #tech #scholarship #student #help

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Janet’s Answer

Keeping the information on your laptop safe is very important so great job thinking about this. You can install internet security software on your computer that will scan continuously and block suspicious activity. There are different products available like Norton Security, Kaspersky and others. You can also do some things yourself to keep your information safe. Take a look at this information on other ways to keep your laptop safe.

https://usa.kaspersky.com/...safety/top-10-internet-safety-rules-and-what-not-to-do-onlin...

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Anish’s Answer

10 simple tips to keep your laptop safe from software damage

  1. Always use password, and keep your password private
  2. Keep you software and system upto date
  3. backup your data
  4. do not browse the sites which you are not sure
  5. do not click on all the links. The title of the link may be promising but the link may harm your system
  6. before using external harddrives, make sure it is safe or run the scan
  7. have some anti virus software and adblocks in your browser, which prevents ads which brings malwares to your system
  8. scan your system once a month
  9. if possible, use private VPNs
  10. Don't leave your system unattended
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Mohammed Sikandaruddin’s Answer

> Please ensure that the Operating system and Antivirus in your laptop is latest
> Refrain from installing Malicious Softwares onto your computer
> Ensure you are using bit locker feature incase you are using a windows laptop (Refer: https://community.windows.com/en-us/stories/what-is-bitlocker-windows-10)
> Try to setup a password which is very difficult to predict and also try changing the passwords frequently (probably change the password every 90 days)
> Keep the system locked while you are moving away from your computer

Mohammed Sikandaruddin recommends the following next steps:

Read article inregards to Bit locker
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Jen’s Answer

Being aware and thinking of laptop safety risks is a great first step! Here are some tips I follow:

Physical safety: Keep laptop secured in a case/carrier. Try to not leave it unattended in public places and lock or shut down it down when not in use. Privacy screens can help prevent others from shoulder surfing.

Security: VPNs are really good if you need to connect using public WiFi since they can help help keep your data secure. You can also think about using an antivirus or malware system and keep that up to date, too! Be on the lookout for any</span> security patches for both your laptop and programs- try to keep those up to date and current. I think that part is really important for me - sometimes I like to just ignore or skip routine updates but I know that I can't with security patches because they are so critical for my laptops safety and performance!

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Luis’s Answer

Hi Aradhana,

I would say the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from cyber hackers would be to have unique passwords for your accounts and password managers are a great place to store all those combuluted passwords. Secondly, turning on 2FA on your accounts is a wise choice. Lastly, if you're really concerned, perhaps think about investing in a VPN to ensure that your connection to a website is secure and private. As for your cooky concern, Firefox has a setting where it can delete your cookies and browser history every time you close the application. I would recommend switching over to Firefox if cooky theft is a concern. You can read up more on how to set that up here: http://mzl.la/1BAQKDJ

Luis recommends the following next steps:

Reset your passwords
Turn on 2FA
Install Firefox and enable "Clear history when Firefox closes"
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Danielle’s Answer

I would recommend keeping your laptop operating system up to date (auto-installing security updates and patches is generally considered best practice) and consider installing virus protection software (if using a PC). In terms of physical security, try to avoid leaving your computer unattended in public places. Seek out safe, secure alternatives, such as a locker, a backpack you can keep on you, or a desk draw.

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Simeon’s Answer

There are bundled products, like Norton security and Lifelock. Some of these products are probably the best combinations for your laptop security.
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Sejal’s Answer

Hi Aradhana, this is a great question! There are two aspects to keeping your laptop safe: making sure no one can pick it up and walk away with it, and making sure no one can figure out your password and log in to your laptop without your permission.


First, make sure when storing your laptop, it isn't visible or accessible by someone who shouldn't have access. For example, when storing your laptop in your car, instead of leaving it under the front seat, or on the back seat under a towel, place it in the trunk of your car, and lock the trunk if you are able. I can't tell you how many people I know that have had their cars broken into because their laptops were left on the backseat of their car.


If you are in a public place, such as a coffee shop, and need to step away, see if you can take your laptop with you, instead of leaving it on the table and asking someone to look after it. <span style="color: rgb(93, 103, 106);">If you are in a college dorm, you can buy a laptop lock to lock your laptop to your desk - keep the key on your key chain. I did this during my college years to protect my laptop, and was glad I did. My roommate would often have people over that I didn't know, so it was good to know no one could walk away with my laptop!</span>


With regards to password protecting your laptop, I recommend using an uncommon, incomprehensible password consisting of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols -take time to memorize it! There are many password generators available online, and I recommend using LastPass. LastPass is a freemium password manager that stores encrypted passwords online. The standard version of LastPass comes with a web interface, but also includes plugins for various web browsers and apps for many smartphones. If you have the LastPass app on your phone, and forget your laptop password, you can log into LastPass from your phone to retrieve it. The longer and more complex the password, the more difficult it is to hack. Remember to keep this password unique (meaning, don't use this password more than once), and don't share it with anyone.


I use LastPass for everything, and find it so helpful. All of my passwords are generated by LastPass and stored within the service. My iPhone will prompt me to log into LastPass via thumbprint or face ID if I want to retrieve a password. The only password I have to memorize now is the password to access LastPass (when on my computer) and my main laptop password.


In addition to all of this, I recommend backing up your most important files into the cloud. There are many companies that offer this service for free, such as Google Drive, and Dropbox. Set a calendar reminder to back up your important files on a weekly basis. That way, if something were to go wrong, you can still access you important information from another laptop. I use Google Drive for both my work and personal files.


Lastly, keep in mind that if something were to happen, it isn't the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at the time :) Mistakes do happen, and unfortunately, laptops are stolen or hacked, even when we do everything in our power to prevent this from happening. It has happened to me and is a terrible violation of my privacy, and I really wanted to blame myself, but I knew that I had done everything I could, and blaming myself wouldn't bring back my laptop. The best you can do is take the necessary steps to protect your laptop, and yourself, and forgive yourself is something were to happen, and learn from the incident.


Good luck!

Sejal recommends the following next steps:

Research Lastpass and consider signing up for a free account.
Research Google Drive and/or Dropbox to back-up important files on a weekly basis.
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Jay’s Answer

Aradhana,

There are a lot of steps you can take to help protect your laptop.

The first is the physical protection. Never leave your laptop unattended or out in the open. They are attractive items to steal. If leaving a laptop in your vehicle, make sure you lock it in the trunk so that it is out of view and not an easy target.

To protect your account, it is best to use a password manager (like Lastpass) to store strong password. This will help you protect your accounts from hackers. In like with that, it is best to not use the same password for multiple accounts.

Also, be aware of methods that hackers use to gain access to your information. Email phishing attacks are common ways to trick you into revealing your passwords so attackers can gain access.

Additionally, I would recommend taking a couple of training courses to help you get into the best habits to protect yourself.

Best of luck

Jay recommends the following next steps:

https://oag.ca.gov/privacy/facts/online-privacy/protect-your-computer
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Jiahan’s Answer

Great question Aradhana! It's great that you are security-minded and concerned about cybersecurity and personal information. There are many different types of threats and different ways to address them. There are some basic things you can do like practicing good password hygiene, not clicking on suspicious web links, blocking pop ups, keeping your software up to date, etc. One good habit to get into is to enable 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) on the services you commonly use. You can read more about it in this article: https://authy.com/what-is-2fa/.


Hope this helps! It's also important to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for potential security threats always. Good luck!

Jiahan recommends the following next steps:

Set up 2FA on commonly used services
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Alan’s Answer

It is based on the operating system that you run such as Microsoft Windows, MAC OSX, or Linux. The fundamental you want to leverage the built-in features from the operating system such as firewall, virus detection such as Microsoft Defender. Now-a-day, don't fall into a victim of phishing (which is a piece of malware can load into your system to steal personal information, used your system as BOT to do other harm to other systems, etc).

  • You will need to also configure your web browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge to not allow tracking, or safe sensitive personal information such as credit card, password. Use Incognito/Private browser window feature if necessary.
  • Be care of ad popup, games, free movies web sites, those websites tend to be a malware sites.
  • Don't click on link via email, open up attachment. Even an email coming from your known friend/family member/colleague. When in doubt, verify it first before opening.
  • Back up your personal data via online service (such as Google Drive, iClouds) or offline storage (USB external drive)
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date by frequently applying security patches.



Alan recommends the following next steps:

If you don't yet have a virus/malware protection, find one and purchase one. MalwareByte has a pretty good one.
Have you patch your system lately?
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Sanjay’s Answer

Hi Aradhana!

Here are some general safety tips for keeping your Laptop secured.


1) Always have it password protected, and have any data on it backed up


2) Don't leave it out of your sight -- in libraries, coffee shops, etc. many people get out of their seat and the laptop is taken when they come back. It only takes a second for thieves to run off


3) If your laptop is in a backpack and you are leaving it in your car, always put it in the trunk or in a location where it can't be seen by outside passerby. Car break-ins are the most common method for stealing laptops and other valuables.

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Michele’s Answer

This is such a great question! So much of your data and work you have done is on your laptop. There are three parts to always think about:

  1. Physical security - knowing where your laptop is amongst other people. For example be aware of places you are at and never walk away from your laptop. That is a great way for people to walk up and hack your laptop and add malware to use your laptop for their use behind the scenes. Also always screen lock your laptop if you do walk away in a secure environment, that way a password is needed to unlock it. Another good idea is to get a screen protector so it makes it hard for others to see your screen even if they are sitting next to you or behind you.
  2. Software security - there are several things you can download for your laptop. Likely you already have an anti-virus software (make sure to keep it updated). Also passwords get stolen a lot, from places you visit like stores or coffee shops. Be wary of free wi-fi access too, some are setup to steal your passwords and download malware to your laptop if you use them. Make sure you download and use a password protection tool, one that has you login to it then it keeps your passwords to other systems inside of it. I would find one that has two factor authentication - something you know and something you have.
  3. Social Engineering - there are folks out there that will play on your human nature to help. They may pose as someone needing help - like saying they found a USB drive outside of school - is this yours or could you help me find who's it is? Don't use a USB or external drive you don't own. I have seen this happen and both your laptop and your school's systems can be compromised. Also don't be shy to ask for identification from anyone that wants something from you - they may say they are from the helpdesk to help you and need your password for example. Ask them for their ID - never give out your password to anyone, and if you don't use a password vault don't use the same password on multiple sites.

I hope some of this helps and gives you some ideas on how to protect your laptop.

Warm regards,

Michele

Michele recommends the following next steps:

Research password vault tools
Check out Screen Protectors that shield your screen from prying eyes
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Steven’s Answer

Hi Aradhana,


This is a very important and practical question to ask in today's world where so much of our personal information is available through the devices we use. Fortunately, the steps to keep our devices and accounts safe are usually pretty straightforward and just require a little forethought.


Before getting into hacking or anything like that, we should first think about physical safety. Do you keep your laptop and phone in a secure place where you can keep your eye on them at all times? Do you have a password or pin number lock screen on both so that no one but you can pick them up and start using them? We need to make sure only ourselves and trusted people like parents can use our devices.


Once you secure your device, then we can start thinking of how to secure your accounts and software. Probably the most important thin you can do here is to have strong passwords on all your accounts (email, social media, school websites, etc.) and also DO NOT use the same password on every site. You also don't need to make crazy hard to remember passwords in order for them to be secure. You might think that a password like "i3jf93vy^$98v732-d@!" is the only way to be secure, but it's difficult to remember and really not any more secure than "purple cotton tea frog". The important thing is to make it random and not easily guessable. Anyone can find out your birthday or your middle name, so don't use those as your password. You also might want to look into a password manager service that helps you create strong passwords for everything you use and it remembers them so that you don't have to. Here's an excellent article for you to read on the subject: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-password-managers/


Finally, the last important advice I will give you is to avoid phishing scams, which try to make you click on links and give away personal information about yourself and your accounts to bad people. If you get a suspicious email from someone you don't know or someone asking for personal information, don't click on it and don't reply with any personal info. Someone might use this personal information to access your accounts or to get other information from people close to you. Check out this article for more information and ideas on how to protect yourself such as two-factor authentication https://blog.lastpass.com/2016/01/staying-safe-from-phishing-attacks.html/


That's it for now. Good luck!

- Steve

Steven recommends the following next steps:

Read this article on strong passwords and password managers: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-password-managers/
Read this article on staying safe from phishing attacks and follow some of their advice: https://blog.lastpass.com/2016/01/staying-safe-from-phishing-attacks.html/
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