In October 2022, PCWorld reported Microsoft 365 Defender can now “automatically disrupt ransomware attacks (Mark Hachman, PCWorld, Microsoft 365 Defender now disrupts ransomware, October 12th, 2022, https://www.pcworld.com/article/1346704/microsoft-365-defender-now-disrupts-ransomware.html).” This is a significant step to disrupt cyber criminals’ activities. Unfortunately, it is only currently available for business customers, not consumers. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 doesn’t include Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Family or Personal, the popular consumer versions. Nevertheless, it is a bit more peace of mind in avoiding ransomware. PCWorld suggests it is just a matter of time before consumer users of Microsoft 365 Defender will be able to benefit from automatically disrupting ransomware attacks. Although antivirus software is developing rapidly, the advances in Microsoft 365 Defender are more like tools in a toolbox, not a universal tool to protect your computer or network from everything. RB’s Computer Service has always leaned into a multi-faceted approach to computer and network security vs a one-hit-wonder. While RB’s Computer Service welcomes Microsoft 365 Defender advances to disrupt ransomware attacks, in this blog we’ll share 4 easy tasks you can do to supercharge your computer and network security.
Use a password manager
Password reuse is one of the biggest security risks consumers and businesses engage in. Every week it seems a major website or online entity reports a massive data breach. If you’re using the same email and password for multiple accounts, and any of those accounts leak, attackers can hack into your other ones using the information. Using strong, unique passwords for every account you own protects against that—but memorizing a different random password for every website you create an account for is next to impossible. That’s where password managers come in (Brad Chacos, PCWorld, 5 easy tasks that supercharge your security, September 21st, 2022, https://www.pcworld.com/article/394001/5-easy-tasks-supercharge-your-security.html).
We have been using and recommending LastPass password manager for several years, but don’t just take our word for it. LastPass password manager has been evaluated and recommended by PCMag and c|net along with other computer industry publications.
Benefits of LastPass Password Manager
• Offers free version
• Base price beyond free: $36 per year
• Works with: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone, and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Opera.
Many password managers offer a free option, but only allow you to use it with one device unless you pay for more service. The free version of LastPass on the other hand does not, it gives you the ability to store passwords, user login info, and credentials and sync all of it wherever you want, across desktop and mobile devices and browsers. You can also share a login item with another person.
For $36 a year, you can buy the Premium version of the password manager to share passwords, logins, memberships, and other items with trusted family members and friends, use multifactor authentication through YubiKey, and get 1GB of encrypted storage.
Finally, with a $48 annual subscription, you can sign up for Family Plans that give you six individual accounts, shared folders, and a dashboard for managing the family accounts and keeping an eye on your account's security.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
Most major online services now offer a two-factor authentication feature, especially if they handle more sensitive personal data. Turn it on whenever you can. If a hacker does somehow manage to gain access to your login information, 2FA can be like a deadbolt preventing them from getting into it (Brad Chacos, PCWorld, 5 easy tasks that supercharge your security, September 21st, 2022, https://www.pcworld.com/article/394001/5-easy-tasks-supercharge-your-security.html).
Generally, when you turn on 2FA it works like this. First, you need to verify your identity on a secondary device (smartphone) or platform (i.e., email address). Once this is done, when you try to log in to something, after you enter your login information, you will be sent a code to the secondary device (via text message) or platform (email). Finally, you enter the code sent to log in.
Stay safe with security software
After your accounts are locked down, the next thing to do is to focus on security for your computer network. Malware can secretly siphon off your banking information or medical history. Ransomware can lock you out of your computer completely until you pay a bounty. As a result, you need a good firewall and antivirus software. For a firewall, if you are using Windows 10, for most users, “the Microsoft firewall that ships with Windows 10 gets the job done just fine these days (Brad Chacos, PCWorld, 5 easy tasks that supercharge your security, September 21st, 2022, https://www.pcworld.com/article/394001/5-easy-tasks-supercharge-your-security.html).” However, we also recommend running antivirus protection, like Malwarebytes. Of course, there are other antivirus products on the marketplace worthy to consider, like Norton Antivirus or McAfee Antivirus.
Back up your data
There are two ways you can add backups and disaster recovery to your computer network or add disaster recovery to current backed-up data.
One way is you might choose to manage your disaster recovery program in-house. This would require the average business owner to consider several things, including staffing requirements for assessments, design, testing, implementation and management, training, documentation, reporting, and recovery infrastructure/equipment, not to mention selecting a solution as the foundation. If your business doesn’t have a full-time IT person, or your current office administrator also wears the IT support hat, this option is probably not the best fit for you. Conversely, if you do have a full-time IT person in your office, contact RB’s Computer Service today at 763-441-3884. We would be glad to partner with your team to help navigate the best options for your business (COMPUTERWORLD, Acronis, Disaster recovery: Hitting the data protection home run, March 17, 2022, https://www.computerworld.com/article/3654193/disaster-recovery-hitting-the-data-protection-home-run.html).
The second way you could go about adding backups and disaster recovery to your computer network is to consider a Managed IT Service Agreement with RB’s Computer Service. Our Managed IT Service Agreements are uncomplicated, customizable to your business, and very affordable. In fact, for the price one pays for lunch each day of the month, a local small business owner could enroll in an RB’s Computer Service Managed IT Service Agreement. We can help you securely back up your computer network and add a disaster recovery plan. For a hassle-free consultation, contact RB’s Computer Service today at 763-441-3884.
In this blog, RB’s Computer Service highlighted 4 easy tasks you can do to supercharge your computer and network security. However, we know that the spectrum of “easy” is subjective to each computer user or a business owner. Obstacles like having enough time or having a basic understanding of computer systems and networks could prevent some people from doing these 4 tasks. If these obstacles exist for you, contact us today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 763-441-3884. We would be glad to help. We offer very affordable Managed IT Service Agreements to ensure your computers and computer networks work seamlessly and do what you need them to do. In addition, RB’s Computer Service provides ransomware strategies and sells the best commercial-grade firewall routers, best laptop computers, best desktop computers, business computers, computer parts, and computer monitors. We also provide computer repair, iPhone and smartphone repair, and tablet repairs to customers and clients throughout central Minnesota and St. Cloud.