Remote access effectively allows you to control everything on your computer as if you were directly connected to it. In Windows 10, you can do this through the Windows Remote Desktop feature that allows you (or others) to connect to your computer remotely over a network connection.
Unfortunately, hackers can exploit Remote Desktop to gain control of remote systems and install malware or steal personal information. It’s a good idea to keep the remote access feature turned off unless you actively need it. By default, the feature is disabled. Once enabled, however, it’s easy to disable it again.
Windows 10 ships with Remote Desktop, so you do not need to have explicitly installed it. Once installed and set up, disabling it is similar to previous versions of Windows. But now you can use the Cortana search box.
Steps to Disable Remote Access in Windows 10
- Type “remote settings” into the Cortana search box.
Select “Allow remote access to your computer”. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this opens the Control panel dialog for Remote System Properties.
- Check “Don’t Allow Remote Connections” to this Computer.
You’ve now disabled remote access to your computer.
Does your company have a policy about Remote Desktop?
Many companies run their business operations on Windows systems. In fact, if your company has a cybersecurity program in place, there may be a policy in place that forbids the use of Remote Desktop.
This kind of security policy or procedure is critical to communicate to employees. You want to protect your customer information or intellectual property from data breaches, which have become alarmingly common.
A comprehensive set of cybersecurity policies is the first step to securing your business against malware or the theft of personal information. You may also find questions about remote access on a vendor security questionnaire sent to your company. Some security frameworks like SOC 2 can also require you to ensure your business is protected from unauthorized remote access. The first of SOC 2’s Five Trust Services Criteria, Security, requires your system to be protected from unauthorized access and that controls are put in place to limit access and protect against data breaches that can occur.
Does your business have policies and procedures to guard against cyberattacks?