How can I keep my computer secure?

Episode 1542 (1:56:28)

John from Indianapolis, IN
Computer and smartphone

John is worried about security on his new Windows laptop. Leo says to follow the archonym "UPDATE":

U - UPDATE the OS. Windows issues updates on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. He should make sure he gets it updated immediately! He can even set his updates to automatic.
P - PASSWORDS should be difficult and long. Easy to remember passwords are easy to guess. He should use a password manager and let it generate and remember his passwords.
D - DOWNLOAD software only from trusted parties!
A - ADMINISTRATOR accounts shouldn't be used for day-to-day activities. He should be running as a Limited user.
T - TURN OFF the computer when he's not using it.
E - ENCRYPT the drive. If he has Windows Pro, he should turn on Bitlocker. That way, it will encrypt his data and keep it safe.

What about AntiVirus software? Leo doesn't recommend them anymore, but if he's going to use one, Windows Defender works as good or better than third party options. All too often, antivirus software can be broken into and break into the system. So they're just as bad at keeping the system safe. At the end of the day, though, no matter what he does, his online behavior is the last, best thing to keeping him safe online. If he's wreckless online, it won't matter if he does any of the above.