Protect Your Laptop from Cybercriminals

Protect Your Laptop from Cybercriminals

It is well known that malicious attacks on computer networks are on the rise. There are many reports that quote sobering statistics, and big news stories (like the recent TransUnion breach) remind us that we are not immune to dramatic, large-scale attacks here in South Africa.

Ensuring that your devices help to protect against attacks is an important line of defence. Particularly when one considers that human error is responsible for 95% of cybersecurity breaches (1) and remote workers continue to be a soft target for cybercriminals.

If you are buying a certified preowned laptop or desktop for your business, there are 5 things that you must have in place to ensure that you have adequate basic protection. Some are obvious, but these are, perhaps, the most important!

One: Anti-virus software

When viruses or other kinds of malicious software get onto your computer, they can cause chaos: stealing your data, encrypting your data so that you can’t access it, or even erasing it completely. Anti-virus software detects malicious software or code, and either quarantines or deletes it so that your data is kept safe. There are lots of great anti-virus products. One of the first things you must do when you get your certified preowned laptop or desktop is to purchase and install one of them!

Two: Backup recovery

If your data is stolen, you want to have a backup available. Keep your data backed up in the cloud – it is simple, affordable, and safe. You don’t want to have to pay cybercriminals to get it back!

Three: Biometrics

To access a laptop or desktop, you are required to login using a username and password. This is a relatively weak form of protection: passwords can be lost or figured out. Biometrics (facial recognition or fingerprint readers) offer a much more secure form of login. While facial recognition is still a rarer feature on laptops, fingerprint readers are common. Get a laptop with a fingerprint reader as a minimum.

Four: Trust Platform Module (TPM)

A TPM is a special security chip that comes attached to the motherboards of many business grade laptops and encrypts your files. Simply, it blocks attackers from reading your personal data unless they have access to a special password. The beauty of TPM is that it works automatically in the background; you don’t have to know anything about it or do anything to make it work. You don’t want to be buying a business laptop in 2022 without TPM.

Five: Intel Identity Protection Technology (IIPT)

IIPT is a technology that Intel adds to the processors that are used in laptops and desktops. IIPT matches your computer to your passwords, so that websites can authenticate that it is your PC that is accessing a website – and not someone who has stolen your password. If, for example, a criminal has secured access to your password and tries to login to one of your web accounts using their own device, IIPT will identify that it is not your device and will prevent access without additional authentication.

Six: Smart Card Reader

The smart card reader is not a necessary security feature; but we cover it here because many of our business class certified preowned laptops include this feature. These readers are typically used by corporate IT departments that want an additional authentication layer. They issue employees with a smart card that must be inserted into the smart card reader before the user can login to their laptop with their username and password. The purpose of this arrangement is to have a double layer of authentication: (1) the smartcard, and (2) username and password in order to access the device. If the company you work for does not support smart card security, then the reader serves little purpose.

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