Day 29

Upgrade to a Privacy Friendly Operating System / Change OS Settings


DAY 29: Upgrade to a Privacy Friendly Operating System / Change OS Settings

Welcome to Day 29 of my 30 day security challenge, the month long challenge I created to help you gain control of your privacy and security online. You can follow along with the whole series at where you can also download a checklist, and subscribe to for the entire video playlist.

Today is the last day of required work from you, so I hope you've been following along so far! Each day you've enhanced your online security and privacy in a way that will better protect yourself from future attacks. While nothing is 100%, all of these steps together will definitely deter your average attacker.

Now that your online self is more secure, let's battle one of the biggest sources of local privacy - your operating system. I will focus today on Windows 10 and Apple Mac, and at the end I'll mention some alternative operating systems if you want to take it a step further and feel like installing something completely new.

If you've never installed Microsoft Windows 10 before and are just doing it for the first time, you can hit all of the privacy settings via the teeny tiny "customize settings" option that is found on the bottom of the blue setup screens. Read each option carefully and turn off or opt out of data collection or sharing. Because yes, Windows 10 collects and shares a LOT of your data.

If you've already installed Windows 10 you can still go back and disable these settings by clicking the Windows key, then settings, then Privacy. Under General, turn off all options. Click on Manage my info that's stored in the cloud if you have a microsoft account and need to check those settings as well. Under Location, disable location settings. If you don't need the camera or microphone turned on, you can disable it in the next two sections. Next, you can turn off notifications, then Speech, Ink, and Typing data. Turning off Account Info will stop apps from accessing your name, picture, and other account information. After this, you can turn off Contact, Calendar, Call history, email, tasks, and messaging from sending data to apps. Radios, Other devices, feedback and diagnostics, background apps, app diagnostics, and automatic file downloads should all be carefully reviewed for your specific needs.

Go back to the Home settings menu and choose Network and Internet and click on WiFi then click on manage known networks. Click on any networks you don't want to remember and click Forget. Go back to WiFi and Disable options under WiFi Services on this page. Under Mobile Hotspot, turn off the Turn On Remotely setting.

Under the General settings, choose Cortana, then turn off Cortana options.

Under General settings, choose System. Turn off notification settings on the lock screen. Under Shared Experiences, turn off the option to allow other devices to open apps.

Go back to that general tab and click on update and security. Choose Windows Defender, then choose the Shield icon. If you're using Windows defender, everything should be turned on. If you have Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (the newest Windows OS update as of time of recording) then you should see a "Controlled Folder Access" option. Turn that on to protect certain folders from ransomware attacks. Click on protected folders and choose which ones you want to protect. You can add and remove any user specified folders. Go back and choose "Allow an app through controlled folder access" to choose any apps that should be white listed. If you find any apps get blocked by controlled folder access that you need to use, you can always add them here.

Back on the general tab, under Devices, turn off bluetooth. Under AutoPlay, turn off autoplay. Under General, Accounts, go to sign in settings, and turn off Show Account Details under the privacy section. Under Sync your settings, turn off syncing.

If prompted, restart your machine.

Now for Apple Mac! Open your Settings app, go to System Preferences, and Security and Privacy. Choose Firewall and turn it on. Under Privacy, click through each app and disable any settings as you see fit. From the System Preferences main menu, click on Sharing and remove any settings that don't fit your needs. Under Users and Groups, remove any users that don't need an account on your machine.

If you're using Safari, go into the privacy tab of your settings and remove website data, and turn off location services.

Alright! That covers most, if not all, of the operating system security settings for up to date Windows 10 and Mac machines. Definitely hit up the video I did a couple o' weeks ago discussing turning on a lock screen, encryption, auto updates, and more. If you want to take it a step further, you can install a new operating system that focuses on privacy. There are many to choose from, but some I've tried include Kali Linux, Parrot Security, Qubes OS and Tails. There's a huge list of private OS's in the shownotes!

Day 29 is now complete! Tomorrow is a review day and your chance to take it further with resources. But first, make sure to subscribe on and hit up for the downloadable checklist. Again, I'm Shannon Morse and I'll see you tomorrow for day 30!