Author Archives: Lance Whitney

How to Secure Your PC’s Disk Drives with BitLocker

You can bring encryption to your hard drive and USB flash drives using the Windows BitLocker tool. Concerned about someone accessing your PC’s hard drive or flash drives and reading the information on them? You can add an extra layer of protection to all your drives with the Windows BitLocker feature. Designed to work on both internal and external drives, BitLocker encrypts your drives to prevent unauthorized access. As such, BitLocker is especially useful on a laptop or on flash drives that may get lost or stolen and fall into the wrong hands. BitLocker is not a substitute for your regular Windows password or other means of authentication. Rather BitLocker detects if someone tries to use your hard drive or flash drives on another PC or tries to boot up your PC using a DVD or flash drive. In that event, BitLocker prevents access to your encrypted drive. So, you should still have a Windows login password or other security method to safeguard your operating system. BitLocker has been around since Windows Vista days and continues to be an option with Windows 10. BitLocker is automatically built into Windows as part of the operating system, though it’s turned off by … Read More »

Manage Windows 10 with Group Policy

You can use Group Policy to administer your Windows 10 computers, even in a small office. Here’s how. Managing your Windows devices through Group Policy is a task usually reserved for large organizations with domains and Active Directory. But you can also use Group Policy to control one or more computers for a small office if you want to apply the same settings throughout. Group Policy isn’t the most user-friendly tool, but it is effective in that it can display all the key settings and features in Windows, giving you the ability to enable or disable them individually. Certain settings apply only to enterprise-scale organizations, so you wouldn’t touch them. But there are more than a few settings you can tweak for Windows 10 devices used in a small office. Group Policy can be a helpful way to lock down or disable certain settings if you don’t want people in your office to change them. Through Group Policy, you can alter the settings on one computer and have them apply to anyone who uses that computer. You can also export the settings from one computer to another as a way of handling them all. You can use Group Policy no … Read More »

Review Your Security and Privacy Settings in Microsoft Office

Use Microsoft Office? You should check out the suite’s security and privacy settings, if only to be aware of them. Microsoft Office has always been susceptible to viruses and other malware, often delivered through macros in Word. As a response, Microsoft Office disables macros by default when you open documents that you receive from others. But even without macros enabled, Word users can still be exposed. A nasty zero-day vulnerability recently documented by McAfee and since patched by Microsoft could have infected your system if you opened the wrong file attachment. However, this piece of malware would not have unleashed its payload if you had enabled Protected View, which opens documents in read-only mode. Office users should also be on the lookout for potential privacy issues. Through a feature called Intelligent Services, Microsoft can gather the contents of your Office files in an attempt to offer ideas and help improve your writing. This feature is turned off by default, so fortunately you don’t have to hunt around to disable it. But it’s still a feature that exists and that you may want to keep disabled. So, between these two issues, Office users need to check their security and privacy settings … Read More »