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How to secure a new PC

It’s no secret that during 2020 small and medium size businesses have bought more IT equipment for homeworking. But with the number of cyber-attacks having increased 40% since 2019, many are asking how best to secure this new equipment. This article looks at five simple things you can do when you buy new IT equipment to make sure you’re more secure.

Read time: 2 minutes | Audience: Business and Technology

Uninstall things you don’t need

On both Windows and Apple computers, there’s a lot of free stuff that usually comes with the machine. When you first load up, have a quick look at what comes with it and ask ‘What do you actually need?’ Every programme you add, slightly increases the risk of an entry point of an attacker on your machines. Mostly, you have to accept that risk to use the programme you want, however if you don’t use or gain no benefit from the programme the safest thing is to remove it.

Turn automatic updates on

Although it’s annoying, one of the purpose of updates are for the owners of the programme or software you’re using to fix patches or exploits that have been revealed to them. If you miss these, you’re opening a window of opportunity for hackers to exploit the uncorrected flaws in
the code.

Install and use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome

These two browsers sit in a sweet spot of being popular enough they’re well supported with a range of useful plug ins, whilst be very secure. Although not the most secure out there, these do offer the best usability across the internet whilst being ‘secure enough’.

Browse the browser plugins

Both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have a vast range of plugins. It’s outside of the scope of this article to suggest which would benefit your business best, however we would recommend spending time browsing the plugin libraries and seeing which suit your needs most.

“If someone suggests plugging in a USB to your system, ask if they wouldn’t mind emailing it.”

Treat any USB or hard drive that isn’t yours as if it has a virus on it

In today’s age, it’s rare you would need to transfer something via USB or a hard drive where it couldn’t be done on line. If someone suggests plugging in a USB to your system, ask if they wouldn’t mind emailing it to you instead. You can see some details in an email attachment (size, file name, file type) that you can’t see on a USB.

Find Out More

If you enjoyed this briefing paper, check out our other digital resources which cover a wide range of topics, including quantum computing, social media, and 3D printing.

The Lancashire Cyber Foundry runs a series of business strategy and cyber workshops specifically designed for SMEs in Lancashire. We’re passionate about seeing Lancashire business become more cyber-aware and innovative and so offer funded places for companies to come and learn how to defend, innovate and grow their business. Additionally, we have an experienced technical team ready to help you with your business innovation ideas, particularly around cyber and digital innovation.

To find out more about how your business can access support or register on one of upcoming workshops, contact us: 

About the Author

Geraint Harries

Before starting at Lancaster University over four years ago, Geraint had worked in software development roles in IBM and the Civil Service. In addition to being a qualified teacher, Geraint has worked freelance with a varied client base as a software developer and graphic designer. 

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