How to Configure Windows 10 privacy to improve your security
It’s been just over a month since that the new and awaited version of Windows is available for free for most users (Windows 7 and Windows 8).
According to the latest recorded data there are already 50 million users who are using this latest version of Microsoft Operating System, and the most commented thing has been, without doubt the lack of privacy of the users in front of the constant collection of our data through their servers.
If you have already installed Windows 10 or are about to do so and you’re concerned about the security of your computer you will find a few small tips for a good configuration of the privacy in Windows 10 and thus improve the security of your equipment.
Wifi Sense Settings
A new and controversial feature when sharing the WiFi connection is the so called WiFi Sense. With this option you can provide Internet access quickly to your Outlook, Skype and Facebook contacts that are close to home without requesting any key. Wi-Fi Sense sends the password via an encrypted connection to a Microsoft server, which stores it (also encrypted) before to be provided to the friends who need it depending on the location of their devices.
Although Microsoft says that those who get Internet access via Wi-Fi Sense will not be able to come to other devices on the network, however they don’t provide information on how exactly they store your password on the client devices.
If you still want to provide this possibility it is better to do it in a controlled way and upon request of the person seeking access enabling and disabling sharing from Settings > Network and Internet > Wifi > Manage Wifi Settings. This will avoid unexpected “visits” and misuse through our network.
Windows 10 Updates
Another of the most commented new features on Windows 10 have been the updates. From this new version updates are mandatory by default and can restart the computer at any time. In addition, Windows does not explain which updates have been taking place and why.
Establishing mandatory updates by default has its advantages, because the exposure to possible attacks by recent unpatched vulnerabilities is minimized. However, the user should always control the exact moment to install it in order to avoid losing work in progress before an unexpected restart, or measured data consumption if we don’t have flat fare connection with our smartphone.
Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are installed > “Notify to schedule restart“. Thus, we can specify that we want to be notified before patching and therefore avoiding these issues.
¿What is Cortana?
Cortana can be very appealing for its wide utility and its funny way to even say good night and make small talk with you (you have to be registered and maintain an active account in Microsoft to use it).
However, many users believe that it could violate the privacy of our data and communications because it sends and uses personal data during operation, without knowing who, how and where it is storing and being processed this information with the aim to offer a free service for us.
If you consider that this functionality could be somewhat intrusive in your daily use you can disable it from Settings.
Microsoft’s new Edge browser
Microsoft Edge surpasses its predecessor Internet Explorer removing the most criticized vulnerabilities as ActiveX or VBScript and making a more usable browser. Yes, it is true that Edge continues including the almost inevitable Flash Player plugin, but you still can disable it in Settings > Advanced Settings.
Edge does not support plug-ins or extensions yet, so we still have much to check about security in this new browser.
In other privacy options also debuts “New inPrivate Window” so that the pages we visit won’t be stored in the history.
Although not shown by default in Windows 10, you can still use Internet Explorer. You just have to find it in the browser bottom and then work with the old explorer (although still not recommended).
Privacy Settings in Windows 10
A good privacy settings on your computer is key to avoid having security issues working with it. Here you are some guidelines and recommendations that we suggest for each tab, clicking on Settings > Privacy.
In this first General screen, we deactivate 3 of the 4 options.
- In the first option the advertising ID is used to display personalized advertising through applications downloaded from the Windows Store. It’s better to disable. We still receive random advertising but without disclosing our data.
- Under the second option the SmartScreen filter detects malicious URL if you buy in the Windows Store. Never hurts security, better leave it on.
- In the third you will be sending information to Microsoft about your writing so as to improve their suggestions. We prefer not to send anything to Microsoft. Deactivated.
- Finally also disable the web sites offering relevant local content depending on our language list.
In the next tab is also important to remove the “Location”. This serves as in mobile phones to offer suggestions when we are close, to enter our zip code automatically, etc. If we want to maintain our privacy it is better they cannot control our location.
The tabs “Camara” and “Microphone” are important also to be disabled so they can not be used by another application without our permission. If we’re going to do some specific use, activate it and then remove once completed, so that we avoid their activation and use without being aware of it.
As for voice, speech, inking & typing, , this option goes along with Cortana, so better click on “Stop getting to know me” to avoid providing personal information beyond the required.
In the “Account” tab you can prevent applications see your name and image by disabling this option.
Finally one of the most important options you should change is “Feedback and diagnostics”, This will prevent Microsoft to know the use of what we do in our operating system and send them unnecessary data.
- Windows should ask for my feedback > Never
- Send your device data for Microsoft > Basic
Windows 10 includes an antivirus protection called Windows Defender, as Windows 8 did too. According to the company, the antivirus is highly improved and gives you the confidence that some other antivirus can’t. Also the new operating system continues to incorporate, as in Windows 8, the SmartScreen filter to prevent malware downloads and runs in your browser.
Windows Defender is automatically disabled if you install a third-party antivirus and becomes active again if you ever uninstall.
There is no other way to disable it easily. Upon the configuration is only possible to do so temporarily and if so it manages to resume by itself.
At the moment it is advisable to continue using our trusted antivirus.
Back to the old version if you do not like Windows 10.
During the 30 days after the upgrade, if you’re not satisfied you can return to your old versions of Windows (Windows 8 and Windows 7).
Go to Start Settings > update & securityThen go to the Recovery, and under “Go back to Windows 8.1” or “Go back to Windows 7,” click “Get Started.” Windows will ask why you’re going back, give you some warnings and then do its thing. It’s relatively simple, although the process will take a while.
Protect your documents
You always have to keep your system protected with an encryption software, protect your confidential documents in your local folders or folders in your cloud.
With free software Prot-On, you can encrypt your files (PDF, MS Office, images, audio and video) and decide in remote who and when can access them.
Download for Windows 10 and try it! It is free.