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Harden Windows 10 – simple tips suitable for everyone

As of 2021, Windows 10 continues to be the operating system of choice across the world. Most work from home students and professionals make use of computers and laptops that work on the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system.

It is imperative to harden the security of your Windows 10 operating system. While there may be highly technical guidelines that would be useful for the tech-savvy professionals, we look at simple set of instructions that would make your Windows 10 system more secure. All this, without buying or investing in any paid tools. Even a novice computer user will be able to follow this instructions and harden the Windows 10 operating system.

Below, we list 4 essential steps that would help you beat threats and malicious programs from being installed on a weak and compromised Windows 10 computer or laptop.

Use a non-admin user account for daily operations

It is critical that you should avoid using a user account with administrative privileges to login to your system and perform daily operational tasks. The admin account should be kept for performing administration tasks on the system. This should be the first step towards hardening the Windows 10 operating system.

Block all inbound connections on your Windows 10 operating system

Windows 10 comes with the defender firewall. Use the free version of Windows defender firewall to block all inbound connections on your Windows 10 system. You can create a rule on the Windows defender firewall to block all inbound connections to the system. If you choose to install a paid software firewall like the Norton Internet Security tool or the Quick Heal Internet Security tool, please add rules to these firewalls that will block all inbound connections to the system.

Browser – install uBlock origin extension

uBlock origin is a browser extension that is freely downloadable from the Chrome or microsoft store. This browser extension will block any malicious code or program that may be installed on your system through a compromised browser. This is a very popular extension and more than 10 million people are making use of this browser extension to ensure Internet related threats are controlled at the level of the Chrome or Edge browser. You can download this browser extension from the following Chrome store link –

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ublock-origin/cjpalhdlnbpafiamejdnhcphjbkeiagm?hl=en

If you make use of the edge browser, you may download the browser extension for Edge browser from this link –

uBlock Origin – Microsoft Edge Addons

Firefox – uBlock Origin – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US) (mozilla.org)

Opera – uBlock Origin extension – Opera add-ons

Bitlocker drive encryption

Most systems are compromised for the sake of user data. Ransomware is a threat that focuses on encrypting user data and seeking money to unencrypt it. It your Windows 10 system gets compromised, your user data and the One Drive data is at a high risk of being stolen or encrypted to make it unusable for you. There is an imperative need to encrypt user data. This can be achieved through the use of Bitlocker device encryption. Bitlocker device encryption is free of cost, and is available on the pro version of Windows 10.

To enable it, you will need to use the settings app on the Windows 10 system.

Windows Start – Settings  > Update & Security > Device encryption.

Now, device encryption is not available on the Windows 10 Home edition. It is only available on the Windows 10 Pro version and some other advanced laptops such as the Surface pro. The option to turn on or turn off the device encryption feature will be available only on the supported systems.

Should you want to encrypt your data on a Windows 10 Home edition, consider using a third party tool such as the VeraCrypt or the Sophos Safeguard device encryption suite.

These four steps are pretty basic in nature. They are more like best practices that could be followed by anyone to harden the Windows 10 operating system in a simple, yet reliable way. If you follow these steps, there is a less likelihood of your system being compromised through malicious codes or intrusive third party applications.