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Tech tips

Windows and Mac security settings to check now

Presented by TotalAV

Presented by TotalAV

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It’s never good to go too long without checking your security settings. Every now and then, you should brush up on your protections. Whether you use a Mac or a PC, all devices are vulnerable to attacks.

On the bright side, there are tons of built-in features you can take advantage of for your safety. For example, Windows Defender can help protect your PC from lurking threats. Many native protections might be a bit hard to find on your own, though.

Luckily, we have you covered. We collected some essential security features on your Mac or PC. If you haven’t checked them in a while, it’s time for a quick visit!

1. Windows users: Turn on Tamper Protection

Microsoft first released this free security feature in 2019. It prevents third parties from disabling your protection against viruses and other threats.

That’s right: Criminals will try to delete security updates on your computer. They want to shut down all sorts of behavior monitoring programs you have that protect you in real-time.

Luckily, Tamper Protection blocks any changes other programs try to make to your Windows security settings. The only way anyone can change settings is through your administrator account.

To turn on Tamper Protection, follow these steps:

  • Type Windows Security in the search bar at the bottom left of your screen. Then, open the app
  • Next, select Virus & threat protection
  • Click Virus & threat protection
  • Hit Manage settings under the Virus & threat protection settings
  • Scroll down to the Tamper Protection header. If it isn’t turned on, enable it

Your screen will look like this:

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2. Mac users: Stop trackers from watching you while you browse

Nobody wants creepy third parties eyeballing their private behaviors. Go through your Security and Privacy settings to turn off any tracking or access you don’t want. Then, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Apple menu icon
  • Select System Preferences
  • Hit Security & Privacy
  • Select Privacy and click on the settings in the sidebar

Here, you can change the information your Mac shares with others on the internet or network. You can disable location preferences, stop apps from screen recording and more.

3. Windows users: Password-protect files and folders you don’t want others to see

Digital security is super important. If someone breaks into your computer, they have access to all sorts of vulnerable information. Luckily, PC users can guard files and folders.

The steps you need to follow depend on which edition of Windows 10 you are using.

Windows 10 Home Edition

If you want to start encrypting files, you need a third-party app like WinRar, a free tool that offers 32- and 64-bit versions. Download the one that matches your system. (You can find out which version you need by hitting the Windows icon on your home screen, searching for System and looking under the System type setting.)

Next, follow these steps to encrypt a document or file:

  • Right-click the folder or file you want to encrypt
  • Select Add to Archive. This creates a new, smaller copy of the file or folder
  • A new menu opens with the option to Set password. Select it
  • Another pop-up window will open. Select Encrypt file names
  • Enter the password you’ve chosen for your files. After you enter the password twice, click OK

Now, your new file will be encrypted. 

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Windows 10 Pro Edition

To encrypt a single document or file, you don’t need to install a third-party app. Follow these steps:

  • Open the item you want to encrypt and select File from the menu
  • Next, hit Protect Document
  • Select Encrypt with Password
  • Enter your password twice to secure it
  • Select OK to complete the encryption process

4. Mac users: How to hide files and folders

Mac users have a windier road to go down when trying to hide a file or folder. First, you’ll have to use the terminal to run a series of commands.

To open the terminal, first press Command+Space. Then, type terminal. Hit Enter to load the terminal. Next, type this exactly: chflags hidden. (Don’t forget to add a space at the end!)

Drag and drop the file or folder you want to hide into the terminal window. Hit Enter and the file will disappear. The terminal window will create a path to the file.

5. Windows users: Use a secure way to log in

There are ways to log in without remembering a password. You can use a pin or biometric tactic, like scanning your eye or face. Here are a few quick tips for making strong passwords.

Don’t just use letters and numbers. Extra characters make things more difficult. Avoid words you’ll find in the dictionary; they make passwords much easier to crack.

Also, try a phrase to help you remember your password. For example, Kim loves reading. Let’s say she is creating a password around that.

Let’s say she picks the phrase, “More books for Kim.” To turn that into a strong password, she can cram all those words together and turn “for” into “4.” She can add in some odd characters, like a “1” for the “I” in “Kim” as well as a dash between a few words. Just like that, she has created a strong password: book$4-K1M.

How to change your Windows user password

  • Head to the Start menu
  • Hit Settings 
  • Select Accounts 
  • Click on Sign-in options
  • Head to the Password section. There, hit Change button and follow the steps.

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6. Mac users: Check your keychain password and make sure it is strong

Usually, your user password is the same as your login keychain password. (For a quick refresher, a keychain is an encrypted container that stores account names and passwords. You can use them to store all sorts of sensitive data.)

Since your keychain password is so important, you want to make sure your password is strong. Here is how you can change the default keychain password on a Mac:

  • Head to the Dock or Apple menu and find System Preferences
  • Select Users & Groups
  • Next, select your admin account that you use and hit Change Password
  • Enter your current password as well as your new password
  • Enter your hint and select Change Password

Once you have entered your new and improved password code, it should be much more secure.

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Cyberattacks are on the rise, and the more we rely on our devices for work, school and our personal lives, the more we have to lose. Whether it’s bank accounts, personal data, photos or conversations, there’s just so much to preserve and protect. That’s why we recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

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