Tips to keep your laptop safe from cybercrime

We thrive in a connected world. We have information at our fingertips, and a loved one, friend or colleague is just an email or video chat away. High-speed broadband connects us through Wi-Fi, fibre and mobile data. Whether we want to focus on work, play games or listen to our favourite music, the digital age delivers.

But a connected world has dangers. Online criminals skulk around, trying to break into our devices and steal our information. Don’t fall for the myth that you are not important enough to be a target. Cybercriminals are opportunistic and will attack anyone if they get a chance. They see any weakness in your security as an excuse to violate your privacy and steal information that can help them take your money or steal your identity. 

“Cybercrime is a serious threat to digital lifestyles,” says Riaad Mangera, product business unit lead at Acer Africa. “All it can take is one mistake, such as opening an attachment that hides dangerous software or using a fake website that steals your login information. Every person should take steps to stay safe online. Choosing a laptop with good security features helps substantially reduce cybercrime threats.”

How can we safeguard our laptops against cybercrime? Mangera recommends the following tips:

Set Auto-Lock: Many people don’t lock their laptops, making it simple for someone to access the machine. Not having a login password or PIN may seem convenient, but those measures keep the criminals out. 

Fingerprint reader: Using fingerprint biometrics can make accessing your laptop and applications difficult for a criminal. A fingerprint reader is an excellent way to verify your identity and access your device quickly without a password or PIN. It is particularly useful to access sensitive applications and information safely. 

Camera cover: Criminals can hack into web cameras for fun or profit, using the camera to spy on users. For extra peace of mind, select a laptop with a camera cover – typically, this is a plastic barrier that slides over the camera. If that is not an option, you can try the low-tech tactic of placing tape over the camera. 

Facial recognition: Similar to fingerprints, facial recognition makes it much harder for criminals to access your system. This feature scans your face with the laptop camera, identifying specific markers unique to you. The best facial recognition systems use technologies such as infrared to ensure someone can’t use a photo to fool security.

Antivirus software: While criminals have tactics that sidestep antivirus and anti-malware software, running detection software on your laptop is still a good idea. Your operating system may already have a native antivirus application, and there are many free antivirus and anti-malware options available.

VPN: Whenever you connect to a guest network, such as Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, there is a risk that criminals might have hacked the network or created a fake network. A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts your connection, ensuring snoops cannot see your data. You don’t need a VPN under all circumstances, but consider using one if you do sensitive transactions on a public network, such as logging into online banking.

Mobile data: You can use mobile data if you don’t have a VPN. It is challenging for criminals to intercept information between your device and a mobile network. Though this method is not foolproof (no single security method is), it’s often much safer than public Wi-Fi.   

Preboot authentication: If your laptop has preboot authentication, it can protect your data even if someone steals your laptop. This feature requires a PIN or password before the laptop will even load its operating system, meaning they can’t even try to boot the machine with a USB stick. Preboot authentication is becoming a standard feature for high-end and business laptops.

Trusted Platform Module: Use a laptop with a Trusted Platform Module or top-level security. This hardware chip adds extra security features to your laptop and is particularly effective at preventing ransomware and other targeted attacks.

Base your security decisions on your needs. What is important on your laptop, and what are the best ways to keep criminals away from those things? Don’t let criminals derail your world. Protect your laptop and its data, and send the bad actors away with nothing.

Acer laptops provide a range of choices for different budgets and needs, from on-the-go professionals and hard-working students to serious gamers. Its models incorporate various hardware and software security features, helping you stay safe and active in the digital world.

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