Security is always excessive until it’s not enough. ~Robbie Sinclair
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month– a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. With that in mind, I thought I would cover a few of the things you can do to keep your Windows 10 install just a little bit safer.
Turn off Targeted Ads: I hate ads. Even worse are ads for items I’ve either shown interest in or I have already purchased. You can’t turn off all ads, but you can elect to see generic ads in the hopes nothing interesting will pop up and lead you on a rabbit trail. To turn them off, click on the Start Menu, go to Settings (picture of a cog), click on Privacy, turn “Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you…” to OFF.
Limit Diagnostic Feedback: At the risk of sounding paranoid, I’m not a huge fan of being watched by “Big Brother”. (Sorry, Loren. Still Love You!) To reduce the Diagnostic Feedback, head to the Start Button ->Settings Cog -> Privacy. In the left pane choose Diagnostics & Feedback to see what is collected and make your personal decision between Basic or Full.
Turn off Activity History (or not): If you frequently use multiple computers (ie: one at work and a different one at home or a smart phone) then the Activity History can make your life easier as it will remember what sites you visited at work and synchronize them with your home computer/smart phone or vice versa. Read more about it and make an informed decision by clicking on the Start Menu-> Settings Cog-> Privacy. In the left pane click on Activity history. Read thru the info in the right pane to make informed decisions.
Location, Camera, Microphone Access: Since you’ve already navigated thru the Start Menu->Settings Cog-> Privacy, take a look at other options in the left pane. The location option will let you turn it completely off, or pick and choose which apps can access your location. If you are equipped with a camera and are worried about outsiders watching you without your consent, then you will want to adjust it’s settings. Same procedure for Microphones.
Account Info: A normal Windows 10 install will setup a Microsoft Account and link it to an email account. If you don’t want to share this information with random apps, then open the Account Info and make your desires be known. Account Info is found at:
Start Menu->Settings Cog-> Privacy. In the left Pane, scroll down to Account Info.
Contacts & Calendar: Same thing is true for Contacts and Calendar. And just in case you can’t remember how to get to Privacy settings: Start Menu->Settings Cog-> Privacy then scroll the left pane to Contacts or Calendar.
Sign-in: Navigate to the Start Menu->Settings Cog->Accounts (surprised you, huh?) Choose Sign-in options in the left pane. Near the bottom of the right pane is an option for Privacy. If you are the only one to use the computer and you aren’t worried about people casually walking by and seeing sensitive things, then you can leave this alone. Otherwise, I recommend clicking the Privacy Button to Off.
There are lots of settings in the privacy category to investigate and possibly turn off. As you turn items off, jot them down on a note pad, just in case something breaks. It’s a whole bunch easier to figure out what caused the break, if we know for certain what changes were made.
That’s it for this month. Take a couple of minutes and lock down your privacy and Stay Safe!
It’s Hunting Season!