Traveling to a high-risk area can expose your electronic devices to hacking or data theft risks. Here are five recommended steps to secure your devices and protect your sensitive information.
- Back up your data before you travel – Make sure you have a copy of your important files and documents in a secure cloud service or an external hard drive. Don’t bring the backup to the risky area, which will help preserve a copy of critical data if your data so you can restore your data if your device is lost, stolen, or compromised.
- Encrypt your devices and use strong passwords – Encryption is a process that scrambles your data and makes it unreadable without a key or a password. You can encrypt your entire device or specific folders and files. Use a strong password that is hard to guess and different for each device and account. You can also use a password manager to store and generate passwords securely.
- Disable or remove unnecessary features and apps – Some features and apps on your devices can make you more vulnerable to hacking or data theft. For example, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC can be used to track your location or access your data without your permission. Disable or remove these features and apps when you are not using them or when you are in a public place.
- Use a VPN and avoid public Wi-Fi networks – A VPN (virtual private network) is a service that creates a secure connection between your device and the internet. It encrypts your data and hides your IP address, making it harder for hackers or third parties to intercept or monitor your online activity. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in hotels, airports, or cafes, as they are often unsecured and can expose your data to hackers or malicious software.
- Be vigilant and cautious – The most important step to secure your devices is to be aware of the potential risks and take precautions to avoid them. Do not leave your devices unattended or lend them to strangers. Do not open suspicious emails or attachments or click on unknown links. Do not download or install software from untrusted sources. Do not enter sensitive information on websites that are not secure (look for the padlock icon and https in the address bar). If you notice any signs of hacking or data theft, such as unusual activity, pop-ups, or messages, disconnect from the internet and scan your device for malware.
Windows 10 is the most popular operating system in the world, but it also comes with some security risks. If you want to protect your data and privacy, you need to configure Windows 10 for security. Here are 10 steps you can follow to make your Windows 10 more secure.
- Update Windows 10 regularly – Windows 10 updates often include security patches and bug fixes that can prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in your system. To check for updates, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click on Check for updates. If there are any available updates, install them as soon as possible.
- Use a strong password and a PIN – A strong password is one that is long, complex, and unique. It should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. A PIN is a four-digit code that you can use to unlock your device instead of typing your password. To set up a password and a PIN, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and choose Password and PIN. Make sure you don’t use the same password or PIN for other accounts or devices.
- Enable BitLocker encryption – BitLocker is a feature that encrypts your hard drive, making it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the right key. This can protect your data in case your device is lost, stolen, or hacked. To enable BitLocker, go to Settings > System > About and click on Device encryption. If your device supports BitLocker, you will see a Turn on button. Click on it and follow the instructions.
- Use Windows Defender Firewall and antivirus – Windows Defender Firewall is a feature that blocks unauthorized network connections, preventing hackers from accessing your device or data. Windows Defender antivirus is a feature that scans your device for malware and removes any threats. To use Windows Defender Firewall and antivirus, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security and click on Firewall & network protection and Virus & threat protection. Make sure they are both turned on and up to date.
- Enable two-factor authentication – Two-factor authentication is a feature that adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts. It requires you to enter a code or use an app on your phone after entering your password, verifying your identity. To enable two-factor authentication, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and click on Security key or Windows Hello. Follow the instructions to set up your preferred method of two-factor authentication.
- Use a VPN service – A VPN service is a feature that encrypts your internet traffic, hiding your IP address and location from prying eyes. This can protect your privacy and security when you use public Wi-Fi or access geo-restricted content. To use a VPN service, you need to download and install a VPN app from the Microsoft Store or a trusted website. Then, launch the app and connect to a server of your choice.
- Disable unnecessary services and apps – Some services and apps that come with Windows 10 may not be essential for your needs, but they can consume resources and pose security risks. To disable unnecessary services and apps, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and click on the service or app you want to uninstall or modify. You can also go to Settings > Privacy and review the permissions that each app has access to.
- Use a secure browser and extensions – A secure browser is one that protects your online activity from trackers, ads, and malicious websites. A secure extension is one that enhances the functionality of your browser without compromising your security or privacy. To use a secure browser and extensions, you can choose one of the following options:
- Use Microsoft Edge, which is the default browser for Windows 10. It has features like SmartScreen, Tracking Prevention, InPrivate mode, and Password Monitor that can improve your security and privacy.
- Use Google Chrome, which is the most popular browser in the world. It has features like Safe Browsing, Incognito mode, Password Checkup, and Sync that can improve your security and privacy.
- Use Mozilla Firefox, which is the most privacy-focused browser in the world. It has features like Enhanced Tracking Protection, Private Browsing mode, Lockwise, and Monitor that can improve your security and privacy.
- Backup your data regularly – Backing up your data is a feature that copies your files to another location, such as an external hard drive or a cloud service. This can protect your data from accidental deletion, corruption, or ransomware attacks. To protect your data regularly, go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup and click on Add a drive or Backup options. Choose where you want to store your backup files and how often you want to backup.
- Educate yourself on cyber threats and best practices – The most important feature for securing your Windows 10 is your own knowledge and awareness. You need to learn how to recognize and avoid common cyber threats, such as phishing, malware, or social engineering. You also need to follow best practices, such as using strong passwords, updating your software, and locking your device when not in use. You can find more information and tips on how to secure your Windows 10 on the Microsoft website or other reputable sources.
If you are new to Windows 10 and want to create a secure workstation for your personal or professional use, this blog post is for you. In this post, I will show you how to set up a Windows 10 workstation with some basic security features that will help you protect your data and privacy. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Continue reading “How to Create a Secure Windows 10 Workstation for Beginners”
Network design starts with creating a secure network infrastructure. While it is assumed that network design processes are obvious when it comes to placement and configuration of routers, firewalls, and switches it can often be helpful to document some of the best practices for the less experienced people that might be tasked with this process at their company.
Remember that having an established procedure and setting realistic expectations allow you to provide some consistency into your IT processes. Consistent processes tend to be repeatable and reliable, which also means you reduce the chance of surprises and security headaches.
Firewalls – Generally speaking you want a firewall placed between network segments that require a high degree of security and to keep unauthorized users off your network. This is easily demonstrated when talking about the connection between your company network and the general internet. Since you don’t want uncontrolled traffic between those two network segments, you implement a firewall. A firewall is designed to block all traffic except the specific traffic you wish to allow. You should verify your firewall has the latest vendor updates applied, all unused ports and protocols are blocked by default, and Intrusion Detection is enabled at the firewall.
Continue reading “Network Design Security Checklist”
In the beginning of the internet, you could say and do anything. You were free to search for any topic, view any content you could find, and share just about anything you wanted. You can now see that this extreme freedom is getting more and more compromised as governments look to control more of the information that citizens have access to and what they can share online. Even hackers use the internet to gain knowledge of your physical or virtual location for their own nefarious and harmful purposes. Sometime content available in one part of the world is restricted by your current geographical location.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) extend your private network across a public network, giving you an opportunity to send and receive information across the public network as if it were a part of your own private network, with appropriate security and a degree of anonymous access.
Each VPN service can perform differently, and not all of them provide the same level of access or security. There are other ways to achieve some or all of these goals besides VPN, but all of them have their downsides. You should consider a VPN solution if you are interested in web anonymity, but they could result in the noticeable loss of browsing or download speed.
When you initially attempt to configure SharePoint 2013 on Azure, it will point you to a SharePoint 2013 trial in the template gallery. This is not the correct way to configure an instance of SharePoint on Azure. This template virtual image is not meant for a single standalone SharePoint Server 2013 installation. Microsoft intends for you to use SharePoint Online or Office 365, or if you wan more control you need to crate an on-premise installation.
You need to “manually” create a SharePoint environment in Azure. As a minimum, there are 4 steps (with multiple sub-steps) that you will need to complete to properly provision a SharePoint 2013 environment on Windows Azure. Your environment is unique to your needs, but this should help you understand the general steps required.
- Create and Configure Network components
- Install and Configure Domain Controller
- Install and Configure SQL Server
- Install and Configure SharePoint Server 2013
Let’s go through these steps and see what is required to successfully work our way through this configuration. Several people have written articles on this subject, so I’ll attempt to just summarize here. If you need details, I hope you will seek out the details and read more on this subject.
So the first step is to create and configure network components. At the minimum we will need the following network components:
- One Virtual Private Network – Click on the Network Services in t
- he Windows Azure Manage portal and click on “New”. Enter the details such as the Name of the VPN and your selected Region.
- Three Subnets – Create a minimum of 3 is required for a small farm where Application Subnet and Web Subnet can be joined together. As the name suggests, you will be using these for the Domain Controller, SQL Database, Application Server and Web Server roles.
- One DNS Server – Choose the static IP given to the DNS Server.
- One Windows Azure Storage Account – After the network is ready, create a storage account. Give it a name and follow the wizard. Your storage account will be created in just a few seconds.
You can read more on this topic here.
In future articles, we will continue to work our way through the process until we have a working SharePoint instance on Azure.