Smartphones and Laptops – safeguards for the casual user

….transmitting….

 

Browsers, history and the like

Smartphones, laptops and their ilk undoubtedly have their place here and now. In our personal, work and play environments, internet connected devices are seemingly here to stay. No problem…that is until your location is obtained by those you’d rather not have learning such, that is until you realize ‘those pictures’ really never get deleted, that is until you learn that incognito mode protects you only from the next person that uses the concerned device and not the rest of the internet. With this is mind, the appropriate response should not be resignation but awareness in the fact that the barest minimum in online security practice can go a long way in keeping personal digital information safe (to the degree an individual can do so, of course).

As far as laptops are concerned, aside from being careful about the open wireless networks one connects to in airports, hotels and such spaces, the simple act of regularly clearing your browser history will;

  • Prevent shifty peeps from high jacking open pages,
  • Clear up all those dodgy tracking cookies no one asked for,
  • Prevent your laptop from being unknowingly recruited for cryptomining – which is an actual thing.

Also, avoid having your login details saved on too many websites, even though the sweet scent of convenience constantly pleads to have you outsource the rest of your recall ability.

Recurring Updates

Since 2015, the Windows OS has been put out as a ‘service’ meaning people receive updates and patches to their software without having to wait for the next big release to fix minor issues…TechRadar covers it here. What people might experience in this context is, responding to an update notification popup from the lower right hand side of the screen, waiting the bunch of minutes (or longer) for the complete update process only to find out that certain critical drivers are not recognized anymore, solution?, wait till the next update push or revert to the previous build…

Dealing with this should not be a hassle but it can because…computers. What can be done here is deferring the updates for a certain period, especially if no show-stopping bugs affect the work done via the concerned laptop/desktop. Just a few clicks and updates can be delayed for about a month (35 days), that way, early releases that may be bug-laden can be skipped for fully featured updates released with most issues taken care of. Below is a 3-step guide for doing this;

In your settings menu, click on ‘Update & Security’.

 

The ‘Windows Update’ section header has ‘advanced options’ below, click this.

 

Scroll down slightly to find ‘Pause Updates’. Click on the toggle icon. That’s all.

**screenshots are from Windows 10**

 

Smartphones are somewhat different as far as recurring updates are concerned, in most cases, updates are usually augments for existing functions released with nifty guides that bring devices owners up to speed. Less frequently are the major overhauls involving UI/feature updates, where the phone owner simply responds to the ‘new update available’ notification by either tapping install now/later or yes/no. Not much of an issue here but understanding the update overview is advised…these slabs are practically fiddled with 24/7 and knowing what goes on within isn’t a stretch, right?…right?!

Far from being exhaustive, this just helps with surface level safeguards when casually using the internet on a PC or smartphone. Not everyone cares about going down a rabbit hole…not everyone should.

 

….end transmission….

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