Lock Down your PC
It’s lovely weather outside to the point where i would take my notebook to public places like the park or local cafe and do my work, just imagine that I had not backed up my coursework that i was doing on my notebook. I turned my back and it’s gone.
I would feel awful not so much for the actual notebook but for the data inside it. Though i do like my notebook. After thinking about this and Watching a Gadget Show episode where they tried out few software/gadgets. I thought it was time for Student Geek to give it’s ultimate guide to lock down your notebook/netbook device.
I’m not going to suggest to you to carry a padlock and chain
First thing about this article to be effective is not to talk about it instead just share it with others that way you don’t tell anyone your security setup/details, it will make it difficult for your friend wanting to be the prankster on Facebook/email account etc to bypass.
STEP ZERO: Chill you are the brave chosen one who is smart thinking ahead.
Sort out your passwords! Use a combination of words, characters and numbers. Keep them different for each service/product.
Don’t write them down unless you know that paper will be kept safe away from preying eyes.
My top tip to creating a good password(s): Create a sentence with as many words as you like don’t forgot to add ! % $ whatever you like and it can be as unusual as you like not some like ‘my name is student geek’ instead go for ‘st8 home to pa9tei / sl33p’ now use all or few parts of the sentence for your password, choose a different section or word from the sentence for each service/product/device.
This way you wont have to remember a lots of individual words whilst still following the good practices mentioned above.
STEP ONE: BEFORE THE OS STARTS UP!
Nearly all modern systems regardless of whether it be online or on the actual device normally requires some sort of password to secure it (this will be your first line of defense), in Notebooks/Netbooks you will find an option to enable a Bios password it would help if the hacker needed to access the bios settings to change where the system should be booted from instead of the hard disk drive but some manufactures allow you to set up a another password for the actual bootup so even before the system has loaded the operating system it needs a password for it to continue.
This is a great way to make sure even if the person has got your notebook/netbook they can’t get into it easily, but it does make the process of recovery extremely hard in-case you forget the password as it is not designed to be user-friendly but to do a job or securing the system.
(!) WARNING: FORGET THE PASSWORD OR MISTYPE IT AND PAY THE COSTS OF GETTING IT FIXED OR EVEN THROWING IT IN THE BIN WITH SOME NOTEBOOKS/NETBOOKS/PC’s.
STEP TWO: SMILE EVIL DUDE YOUR CLOSE TO GETTING CAUGHT
Modern day notebooks/netbooks have in-built camera which can come hand when wanting and it also has wi-fi functionality built-in, use it to your advantage. Install http://preyproject.com/ (there is Free version and Pro version) for the student community the free version is sufficient with 10 reports and it will be your next step in defense and locate your lost/theft notebook/netbook device using the control panel. (if needed you can upgrade later)
Actually the preyproject is really great as it has a lot of the features that would help track down your device:
Webcam – attempts to take an image whilst the device is on and connected to the internet with inbuilt webcam of the evil person using the device
Geo – will provide geo location data on map depending on where it connects from to the internet connect
Session – provides details of changes on the folder the prey is set to key an eye on (i would suggest whatever folder that you keep all your documents in that is the one you should set it to prey on)
Network – provide details of other wi-fi networks closer to the device.
All the above features collect the details quietly without the user knowing when you change the status to missing on the online control panel. If you have your own server that is offsite and you know you could use with ease than you setup your own private installation of Prey and not depend on their server but i recommend starting of with their service as it’s all ready on the plate.
STEP THREE: ERADICATE THOSE PESTS AND VIRUSES
Enable a Firewall (Windows XP3, Vista and 7 comes with inbuilt firewall but you should still check ) if not then install one and Windows Defender to help defend the system from pop-ups, slow performance and spyware.
Install and Enable a Anti-Virus solution (I recommend) Microsoft Security Essentials which is fully fledged essential piece of anti-virus and anti-spyware built-in so you don’t need to install separately Windows Defender. Best part of it does not take up resources or leaves marks all over your system reminding you to upgrade or do this or that instead it works quietly fighting and defending in the background without sucking up the resources to stop you from multi-tasking etc.
I can’t stress enough there is no point you installing all the correct software and then turning it off when it does need your attention or not to update by clicking on simply update button or setting it update itself or it will not work. Simple!
STEP FOUR: HARDWARE FIREWALL PROTECTION WITH ROUTER/MODEM/DONGLE
Depending on your setup you should also enable whatever hardware firewall you have to protect your network though i can hear some hiss and boo’s from peer-to-peer network software but that it is where you could spend a little time configuring it with exceptions.
STEP FIVE: BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!
No this is not a mantra from the labour party but a serious reminder that people do need to back up. Another article will feature this greater detail keep an eye out but i wanted it to be a step on here as it is an important thing to do like checking you have enough cash in the account before that direct debit goes or face bank charges.
STEP SIX: BROWSER ADD ON’s/ SOFTWARE
Software and Add on’s allow you to accomplish some great things though be careful who it is coming from (Is it a reputable source?, will you get support? and what are giving away for that free software?) Ask those questions before proceeding. Though you don’t need to worry about it if it is coming from a company like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple etc. This is not to say independent developer are all evil but just be that more careful, a useful way of checking up is to do a search on them and find out from other websites, the reviews given on the software.
Keep your software/system and Add on’s for browsers all up to date to make sure you get latest security patches if there was a problem with previous version. Enable auto update if you know you will forget.
I would go on but I better stop I do hope the advise helps and do let me know what you use to secure your system or think of this article.