Security and data protection for your IT is important. If you don’t want maintenance to be a bother, you can use these five checks for Windows, Android and your home network to secure the greatest weaknesses.
Security doesn’t have to be expensive. This is how you can quickly check the worst risks.
© Maxim Panchenko / Shutterstock.com
How secure are your programs and hardware? You can find out with our five quick and important security checks and at the same time receive the latest information on the threat situation on the Internet. These five checks do not cover all areas, but they do include the critical points that should not be neglected.
Check 1: Are you still using the most secure browser?
Many users have found their favorite browser and have stayed with it for years. Our readers had their browsers until a few years ago
very popular. But because of annoying speed problems, many users gradually switched to the browser
. It was and is fast and offers a lot of extensions. So far, its makers have immediately plugged security gaps and set new standards for security functions. Chrome not only packs every single tab in a sandbox, but even every website that is accessed. This ”
“The function mentioned first had to be activated manually. Today it is on by default.
And it wasn’t just our readers who switched to Chrome. According to
its market share was around 70 percent in recent years. In contrast, Firefox’s only around 10 percent.
But it pays to keep checking your favorite browser. However, testing the security of a browser is not easy. In 2019, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) tried to do this and came to the conclusion that Firefox is the only recommended browser in terms of security and data protection. You can find the test criteria of the BSI
. Strictly speaking, Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) won at the BSI. This Firefox variant receives function updates less often, but places more emphasis on stability. But even normal Firefox has some advantages over Google Chrome in terms of data protection.
In a new test from the
the new Edge from Microsoft performed best. The new browser version is built on Chromium, i.e. the browser substructure that is also found in Chrome. But it comes without the adjustments that Google uses in the Chrome browser.
Microsoft has now tried to make the fast Chromium easy to configure and as safe as possible. We like the setting options for tracking protection under “Menu symbol -› Settings – ›Data protection and services”. When it comes to browser checks, you currently have the choice between the tried and tested Firefox, which has not been as sluggish for a long time as it was a few years ago, and the new Edge from Microsoft. This should be as fast as Chrome, but offer more data protection.
In the online test Browseraudit.com you can check how good your browser and its settings are with regard to security and data protection. Firefox did the best in our test.
Browser security largely depends on the browser, but it can also be influenced by extensions and the selected configuration. You can test the security of your favorite browser on the website
. It carries out around 400 individual tests and gives the result in a simple overview.
On our test computer, Firefox 87 performed best with only five warnings. Chrome performed worst with 20 warnings. Edge booked ten. We tested all browsers in their default settings, but had installed a number of browser plug-ins.
You can also use its on-board tools to trim your browser for more security and data protection. On these pages the manufacturers reveal how to do it:
5 myths debunked
Check 2: Protect your privacy on the Internet
The newly revised Microsoft Edge browser, based on Chromium, can be easily trimmed for more data protection. The other settings are also clearly laid out.
Private details are revealed in many different places on the Internet. For a quick check, however, you can take three important places: cookies, social media and Google.
Every website has to ask you which cookies you want to sign when you visit it for the first time. According to a new ruling by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), the website must give you an equal choice between the necessary cookies and cookies with which you can be recognized for a variety of purposes . A new dispute is currently breaking out about what is now considered necessary and what is not.
A compromise between convenience (a website recognizes you) and data protection (advertising networks do not recognize you) works via the browser setting “block third-party cookies”, which you can find in your browser settings. If you like it more radical, you can also select the option “Delete cookies and website data when you close Chrome”. Then a website will keep asking you which cookies you want to accept. You will find an up-to-date and detailed guide to cookie management
Despite all security measures, did hackers hijack your Facebook account? At www.facebook.com/hacked, Facebook will help you recover your account.
Users who care about their privacy must also configure social services accordingly. First of all, Facebook should be mentioned here. Here you should go to the settings and check the options under “Privacy”. If you reduce the access rights at this point, you have already achieved a lot. You can find more tips on data protection and security in the PC-WELT guide ”
Facebook safe in 3 minutes
Google is probably the biggest data magnet for personal information. The group can not only track you via its many cookies, for example via the widespread Google Analytics or Double-Click, it also tracks your system via the
that are used by a great many websites.
To see what Google knows about you, put the tool
from Elcomsoft, which can also be used free of charge as shareware. The Cloud Explorer loads all of your personal data from the Google Cloud onto your PC and analyzes it for you.
After the Cloud Explorer installation program starts, the installation wizard asks for a serial number. Leave the field blank and click “Next” to install the software in the demo version. After the installation select “File -› Add Google Snapshot “. How to download a copy of your data from the cloud. In order for this to work, you have to log in with your Google log-in (email address and password) in the next step. The data download can take a long time.
When the download is complete, the Cloud Explorer displays your data sorted into 14 categories. So you can see very clearly what Google has saved about you. Given this amount of data, if you lose interest in Google, then this is
a good starting point for clearing the data.
Check 3: How to check your passwords for security
The Keepass password manager shows you for which log-ins you use the same password. You can also search for similar passwords.
Passwords should be complicated, unique in your collection, and secret. There are three points in our password check. The best way to do this depends on your password manager. We set an example for everyone.
You can find out whether one of your log-ins has been stolen by entering your email address
or on the German website
check. If you use the password manager in Chrome, you can start such a test under “Settings -› Passwords – ›Check passwords”.
In Firefox, saved log-ins are checked for theft by default. You can control this setting by typing about: preferences # privacy in the address bar and pressing Enter. The check mark in front of “Alarms for passwords whose websites were affected by a data leak” must be set.
Complexity and uniqueness check:
The easiest way to check whether there are duplicate passwords in your collection of passwords and whether all passwords are complicated enough is with a password manager. In
You can find the test under “Search -› Duplicate passwords ”or“ Search – ›Password quality”. In
start a full check on the website
and there via the item “Security test”, which you will find at the bottom left after logging in.
Check 4: Scan the home network for gaps
With the free tool Bitdefender Home Scanner you can check your home network for security gaps and weak points. This is particularly interesting for networks with smart devices.
A security check in the home network is especially important when using many smart home devices. Because these often establish a connection to the Internet and therefore offer a significantly larger attack surface than two PCs on a Fritzbox. A recommendable scanner for weak points in the home network with many smart devices is the
Bitdefender Home Scanner
. You install the tool on a Windows computer and scan the network from there. The program gets down to business quite thoroughly. It scans all devices connected to the network such as PCs, NAS, mobile devices and smart devices. It does not matter whether the devices use Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS or another system. Bitdefender Home Scanner’s investigation measures include a port scan, which can provide information about vulnerabilities or backdoors. The tool also looks for log-in options in devices and tries them out. This test is important because attackers do the same. If your router is actually only protected by a standard password, the “Bitdefender Home Scanner” would only log this and report it later in the summary of the test results for the device.
After installing Bitdefender Home Scanner, you need to register with Bitdefender using the software. Only then can the network be scanned. You will also have to confirm two more times that this is actually your network and your router or access point before the scan starts. The reason: In most countries it is legally forbidden to examine foreign networks for weak points – unless you are acting on behalf of the network owner. The scanning process may take some time depending on the number of network devices.
Finally, the tool provides you with a report for each device and shows both the basic information found and possible weak points. Bitdefender Home Scanner also sometimes reports outdated device firmware. If everything is OK, the tool only shows the device name as well as the IP and Mac address. Often, however, the tool also finds weaknesses that you should then deal with accordingly.
Has everything you need
Check 5: Manage access rights for apps
The apps on your smartphone usually require some special access rights that can also be used to access sensitive data. If, for example, an app gains access to the microphone, it can theoretically eavesdrop on you. The subject of access rights for apps therefore always causes anger and misunderstandings. In addition, authorization management in Android is anything but easy. Most recently, users were appalled that the Corona app required access to their location data. And that although the app does not officially carry out GPS tracking. The reason was as follows: The Corona app needs access to the Bluetooth interface. Theoretically, however, the device location can also be determined via Bluetooth. This is why Android 6 and higher manages the access rights for Bluetooth and GPS under “Location data”. So it’s complicated.
Access rights check:
In principle, you can view the access rights for all apps under Android and, depending on the Android version, also partially restrict them. You can do this in the “Settings” app under “Apps & Notifications”. However, it is not particularly clear. The Permission Manager app, which is available for Android 6.0 to 9.0, is more popular here.