Microsoft prides itself on Windows 10 security, but because of the sheer size of the Windows install base, Windows-based systems are a natural target for hackers and bad actors. And that means the 400 million or so Windows 10 users are always the focus of the bad guys of cyberspace.
How do you protect yourself from a cyber attack if you have a Windows 10 PC? Microsoft keeps upgrading its Windows 10 operating system through regular security patches called Patch Tuesday. In addition, each version of Windows 10 is supposedly more secure than the previous one. But from a user perspective, there are several security features in Windows 10 that can help prevent a cyber attack. If you forgot those actions, then the computer might be cracked or hacked easily with third-party tools.
This is the basic security platform for a Windows 10 machine. It has several components for different purposes. For example, the Credential Guard isolates private information so only certain types of system software can get to them.
In addition, this feature uses advanced virtualization based architecture for the credential isolation process. As of Windows version 1607 that came out last year, features like this and Device Guard, Exploit Guard, Smart Screen and Application Guard are turned on by default, so you’re already protected to a great degree.
This encryption utility is extremely critical because it prevents your data from being accessed in the event of a security breach. What it does is to encrypt entire drives so only authorized access to those drives is possible.
In functionality, this enhanced system and file protection mechanism is a little like the app lockers on your mobile phone. They encrypt critical files so they can only be opened with a specific key. The advanced cryptography involved in this process is mind-boggling, but suffice it to know that you are well-protected when you enable this functionality.
To turn it on, you first need to make sure you have admin access and a printer. The printer is for you to print out the recovery key in case you forget the PIN that you’re going to set up.
To set the PIN, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Start >> Control Panel >> System and Security >> Bitlocker Drive Encryption and turn it on.
Step 2: Your system will now be scanned for the necessary requirements, after which you will be prompted to shut it down and boot it up again.
Step 3: On the bootup, you’ll see the instructions to initialize the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is the hardware component required to turn on this feature.
Step 4: In the next window, you will be asked whether you want to set up a PIN or a Startup Key. Select the option you want, set up the PIN or key and then finally, print the recovery key from within the BitLocker utility.
Step 5: You will now be asked to restart your Windows 10 PC, which will initiate the drive encryption process. From now on, you will need to use the PIN or startup key whenever you want to access your machine.
Now that’s great security!
User Account Control (UAC)
UAC is basically a way to allow users to run their applications in a non-admin environment that does not have access to critical parts of the Windows 10 operating system. Essentially, it is meant to prevent malware from making any unauthorized changes to the system. However, the added benefit is that even the user can’t make unauthorized or accidental changes. An administrator has to specifically allow a user to get admin-level access.
This is a great security feature because the user can move about freely within the system without the fear of making any critical changes that could impact system performance or even its basic functionalities.
Aside from these OS-level security features, Microsoft has also built in some robust security functionality into its browser, Microsoft Edge. In addition, there are any number of antivirus software applications that can further enhance your protection against cyber attacks. Although no Windows 10 system can be said to be 100% hack-proof, the more security features you implement or enable, the more secure you will be because the hacker has so many different types of “walls” to climb over before he can get to your precious data or information.