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Top 4 Security Improvements of HP’s Spectre Refresh

Posted by on November 2nd, 2019

The Numerous Security Improvements of HP’s Spectre Refresh | Express VPN partnership.

hp spectre express vpn
Image credit: ExpressVPN

Introduction

It’s not often that a company focuses on security improvements for their products. Most of the time, companies focus on the aesthetics and performance of their devices–after all, that’s what sells. HP has decided to go a different route though, opting to not only improve the aesthetics and performance of the new Spectre, but to ensure that you feel safe while using it.

What do I mean by that? Well, HP has tweaked the new Spectre x360 13 with multiple security upgrades. Enough to dedicate a whole section of the press release to these upgrades. Without further ado, let’s delve into these upgrades and see what all the fuss is about!

The Microphone

Most laptops contain an internal microphone, but not everyone uses the microphone. Plus, if a hacker ever gets into your laptop, they could use your microphone to pick up information they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to retrieve.

To remedy this, HP added a dedicate mute button to the new Spectre 13, allowing users to make sure the microphone can’t pick up anything they don’t want it to. The mute button will also incorporate an LED light to signal whether or not the microphone is actually muted.

Ok, this may not sound too impressive, but I promise you it only goes up from here. Speaking of up, let’s focus on the top of the laptop: the webcam.

The Webcam

The webcam is receiving similar treatment to the microphone, but instead of a simple webcam cover, it will use a kill-switch. With the simple click of a button, you’ll be able to turn off the webcam, allowing you to not feel like someone is snooping through your webcam without your knowledge.


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To me, this should be implemented into all laptops, but I’m glad HP is at least doing it. Maybe other companies will follow their footsteps? I’m not counting on it, but it would be nice.

The Built-In Privacy Screen

The new Spectre will also offer an optional built-in privacy screen. Emphasis on “will”. The press release informed us that the privacy screen will only be available after January 2020, which, while not ideal for the people who need privacy screens, is ok since most don’t care for privacy screens.

If you’re interested in this laptop and need a privacy screen, I’m sorry to say you’ll need to wait a couple more months before purchasing it.

The Security Partnerships

To make up for the privacy screen delay, HP announced two new partnerships with ExpressVPN and LastPass, both cybersecurity companies. These partnerships do come with benefits for users of the new Spectre, such as both of the programs being preinstalled and a 30-day trial for both coming free.

While this may not sound too exciting, both programs are important for Internet security, especially a VPN. Since many laptop users will find themselves outside their home and, consequentially, off their home network, they need to be secured while on public networks–networks typically left unsecured and populated with people you don’t know. VPNs allow you to do that by encrypting your information.

LastPass also helps by keeping your passwords stored in one place and encrypting all of them. While LastPass is more convenient than necessary, I’m still glad HP partnered with them.

Conclusion

As you can see, HP has made a lot of improvements to the new Spectre x360 13 when it comes to security. Will these improvements help sell the laptop? Probably not, as again, most consumers only care about aesthetics and performance.

However, I know I’ll be picking this laptop as my new daily driver, as I’m a sucker for security. If you’re like and are interested in the new Spectre, it has just been released for order, though you’ll be waiting a month to receive it since it’s on backorder.

Keep your eye on it and enjoy your newfound sense of security!


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