These days you can never be too careful when it comes to computer security, and it seems
like there are more threats than ever.
Anything from phishing sites stealing your password, to ransomware that encrypts your
data unless you pay up.
But most of these risks can be minimized if you do the basic things I'm going to go over
in this video, and it's not as difficult as you think, so you can rest easy.
Now before we get started, I want to thank the sponsor of this video, Storyblocks, who
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And now, let's continue.
So first thing's first.
By far the most important thing you need to do to protect your devices, is to simply keep
them up to date.
I know, you're probably rolling your eyes at this because it's so obvious, but there
might be some things you're forgetting.
For example, when's the last time you checked to see if your routers firmware is up to date?
Another really important piece of software to update is Java.
it's a huge target, but most people don't even know to update it.
To do this, search for Java in the start menu if you're on Windows, and this should bring
up the Java Control panel, where you can check for updates.
I'd also definitely recommend going to the security tab and unchecking the box that says
"Enable Java content for browser and web applications", because you almost see Java apps anymore,
and is notorious for it's vulnerabilities.
As for your operating system itself, obviously you need to keep those automatic updates going,
no matter how annoying they seem.
And if you're a Windows 7 hold out, or even, I shudder to think, Windows XP, you should
really just bite the bullet and update to Windows 10, or the latest version of MacOS
if you're on Mac.
Yes, you might not like the look of Windows 10, but whether you want to admit it or not,
Microsoft did beef up the security, especially in the latest "Fall Creators Update".
Specifically, they just added some great software exploit protection directly into Windows,
that before was only available separately as part of the so-called "Enhanced Mitigation
Experience Toolkit", and advanced piece of software you've probably never heard of until
On older versions of Windows, you're not going to get that.
Ok, so we get it, keep everything up to date.
Now we can get to some things that are little less obvious.
Still on the topic of Windows, one great thing you can do is set your Windows account to
not be an administrator, but rather a Standard User.
If you're running on the admin account, software you run might be run with high level privledges
by default, even though most don't require it.
If you accidentally load up a piece of malware, or a malicious website finds an exploit in
your browser, that virus might now have admin privledges as well, with free reign over your
You probably won't even notice the difference when running as a standard user, and if a
program ever does need to escalate privledges, you'll know about it, because Windows will
simply prompt you for the admin password, and continue as normal.
Another important feature built into Windows is User Account Control or UAC, which has
been around since Vista.
That's the thing that pops up a confirmation whenever you or a program wants to install
itself, or change a Windows setting.
Even if you think it's a bit annoying, you should always keep this on the highest setting,
which it should be by default.
And don't always mindlessly click confirm whenever it shows up.
Like if you're just browsing the web, and all of a sudden you get a UAC prompt for not
apparent reason, you should check to see what that caused it, because there's always a chance
some virus in the background just tried to execute, especially if you've visited a sketchy
Now let's move onto things that aren't just for Windows, such as your router.
In the interest of time, I'm just going to ASSUME you have the typical things like a
password on your WiFi connection, and the router firewall enabled like it should be
out of the box.
But one setting that is usually enabled by default that you should disable, is WPS, or
Wi-Fi Protected Setup.
This is meant to make it easy to connect devices to your router by pressing a button on it,
but it's been shown to have really flimsy security, and undermines your WiFi encryption.
If your router has this, it would probably be in the WiFi settings for your router.
And if don't know how to access your router's settings page, you can usually go into a web
browser and type in either the address 192.168.1.1, or 192.168.0.1.
The default password will depend on the manufacturer, but you can usually try 'admin' for the username,
and either for the password, either try 'admin' or 'password'.
Oh, and yes you should probably change those too, or else anyone who connects to your WiFi
could change all your settings.
Another router setting you should consider disabling, but not necessarily, is Universal
Plug and Play, or UPNP.
It makes it easier for devices and software to connect to the internet, but is also a
big security vulnerability.
However, you might need it if for example, you have several Xboxs that need to connect
to the internet simultaneously, or multiple people want to use Apple facetime simultaneously,
or other protocols.
Basically, I would look in the settings and try disabling it, but if things stop working,
just re-enable it.
Alright next up, here's another really practical tip you can use, which is to use a third party
DNS service, such as OpenDNS, instead of the default one provided by your internet provider
that you're likely using now.
If you don't know what DNS is, put simply, it converts any domain names you want to access
into an IP address your computer can use.
So when you type in Google.com into your browser, your computer will ask your internet provider's
DNS server what the IP address is for Google.com.
Then it gives you the IP, and your computer connects to that, but it all happens behind
The advantage of using a third party DNS service, is it could be faster, so web pages will respond
faster, and in the case of OpenDNS, it has a big list of malicious websites that it will
automatically redirect your connection away from, if you happen to stumble upon one.
Google also has their own set of public DNS servers you can use, but it does not do any
To change your DNS, you can do it either on a specific computer, or on your router, which
would apply to all computers on your network.
And it's not as hard as you think, just go back to your router settings page, and somewhere
in the connection settings you should see where it has an option for DNS, or Static
It's a really standard feature and every router should have it.
But if you see something that says Dynamic DNS or 'DDNS', that's something different,
don't change that.
Anyway, then you just have to put in the 2 server addresses, which in the case of OpenDNS
are 126.96.36.199, and 188.8.131.52.
In the settings these might be called Primary and Secondary DNS respectively.
Ok, so that's DNS.
This next tip is pretty quick and basic, and hopefully should be obvious, which is to have
an antivirus software installed.
And ideally, you want one that has 'real time protection', or something named similar to
This is essential, because it will help prevent you from getting infected by viruses in the
When you're browsing the web, you might go on a website that is able to exploit your
browser, or even a browser extension, and do a so-called drive by attack.
In these cases, without protection, a virus could infect your computer even without you
Also, it might be on a trustworthy website that was simply compromised itself, so you
A good antivirus program, along with the other tips about keeping things up to date, and
running as a standard user on Windows, all will make sure you're safe.
Alright this next one is something you should be doing no matter what, and NOT just for
Which is backing up your data.
Again, you might be rolling your eyes, but I KNOW that there are a bunch of you that
still haven't done it.
These days it's easier than ever, with cloud backup services that automatically back everything
up online, or you can get an external hard drive and use Windows' built in backup feature,
which is dead simple.
Ideally you'd actually do both local and online backup, like in the case of Ransomware, a
virus might hijack and encrypt your whole computer, and the backup as well.
Or if a thief breaks in, or you have a fire or flood, your local backup might be destroyed.
But of course a local backup would probably be faster to restore from.
Speaking of thieves and hard drives, one thing you should consider is encrypting your hard
And this is especially so on a laptop, which you're more likely to lose or forget somewhere,
and is easier to steal.
The simplest option is Windows Bitlocker.
Normally this used to only be for Windows Pro versions, and still technically is, but
apparently many laptops and tablets that ship with Windows 10 or Windows 8, have what is
called "Windows Device Encryption" enabled by default, or as an option.
To see if it's enabled, first go to Settings, then System, and in the About tab, it should
mention device encryption and whether it's enabled.
If you don't see that anywhere, you can try searching for Bitlocker in the start menu,
and accessing the settings there.
But again, you might need Windows Pro to use it.
Finally, I've got a couple really quick tips to finish up.
I've said this one plenty of times, but never connect to Open Wi-Fi hotspots.
If they aren't passworded, they aren't encrypted, which means anyone nearby can intercept your
wireless signal and see almost everything you're doing.
Also, be aware of online account security, by using different passwords on every website.
This is really important, because if a website's database gets breached, and you use the same
password for everything, you better believe that hacker is going to have bots running
to test out any username and password combinations in the database on all sorts of websites,
not just the one that got hacked.
Also for accounts, you should enable two-factor authentication when you can, where the website
will send you a text with a second code to type in when logging in, so even if someone
steals your password, they can't get in.
So, I think that covers the most important things you should be doing to protect your
If you have any more suggestions I might have missed, definitely let us know down in the
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