I am going to share a little secret with you: how to completely secure & protect your pc and do it for free.
In this post, I will cover pc security & protection software that you can use to protect your computer from viruses, trojans, keyloggers, spyware, malware, and even hack attempts. All of these software programs are often considered the best in their class. And best of all, they are all completely FREE.
So, if you ever had any issue with viruses, trojans, spyware/malware programs or if you never want to have computer protection issues again, this PC security & protection post on best software tips is just for you.
PC Security Tip #1. Start with the Best – Avast Anti-Virus Software
Start your quest for the best PC protection with the right anti-virus software. Go with Avast.
Here are a few reasons why you should go with Avast:
- Avast has 7 different real time active protection – This means Avast is constantly on the lookout for threats in seven different areas: Instant Messaging, Internet Mail, Network Shield, Outlook/Exchange, P2P Shield, Standard Shield, and Web Shield.
- Daily updates – Avast automatically and seamlessly updates itself in the background in the presence of internet connection. This process does not consume all your PC memory or slow down in your internet connection. In addition, once the update is complete, you will get a nice little message on the bottom right corner showing that Avast has been updated along with a nice voice that says the same.
- Boot-time scan – Just how cool is Avast? You can actually run Avast before the load of Windows, enhancing the likelihood of finding and removing some of those pesky viruses that just won’t be removed. This is probably one of the greatest computer protection inventions since sliced bread.
- Still not convinced? Avast has best user ratings out of all other anti-virus programs. Check it out for yourself here: Avast user rating. You can see that the product is rated 4 and 1/2 stars by users and 5 stars by CNET editors. The program was downloaded 47 million times and rated more than 10,000 times at the time this post was published. You can also look at competing anti-virus program rankings.
Why I believe Avast is better than AVG, Avira, McCafee, Norton, Kaspersky, and others
I have used pretty much all of the other major anti-virus software in the past. AVG was my favorite before the arrival and my use of Avast. I liked AVG quite a bit, but I found that it missed viruses sometimes. Also, it does not offer real time protection like Avast. Like AVG, Avira has a huge following, but I’m not a big fan of possible conflicts with other programs or ads popping up all over the place.
The non-free anti-virus software, Norton, McCafee, and Kaspersky all use quite a bit of CPU. Norton and Kaspersky are especially resource intensive. Kaspersky has slow scanning speed. McCafee, on the other hand, sometimes misses viruses. All three products cost $40-$50/yr for but are actually inferior to free products offered by Avast, AVG, and Avira.
Seriously, why pay to suffer from slow PC or missed viruses when you can get better protection for free?
Once you have installed Avast, make sure to run a boot-time scan. Also, make sure to run the scan once every month to find and remove (or heal or lock up) viruses. I should also note that a boot-time scan is more powerful and more likely to find viruses than a regular scan.
PC Security Tip #2. Protect from Spyware and Malware Programs, Keyloggers, and Trojans
I use a two-prong approach to protecting and securing my pc from spyware programs. First, I install software that provide preventative (called immunization) protection and update them regularly. And, I also install software that I run on monthly basis to search and remove any spyware/malware programs, keyloggers, trojans, etc.
My favorite software for preventative protection: SpywareBlaster
SpywareBlaster is FREE (as usual) and extremely easy to use. The program does not find and clean malware; it simply prevents the installation of those programs in the first place. And, all you need to do is run it once a month – 1) update the program and b) enable protection. SpywareBlaster works by adding protection to Firefox and Internet Explorer.
The BEST software for finding and removing malware: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is one of THE BEST spyware and malware removal tools on the market. It has a very fast and thorough search engine and can find and remove even the nastiest and stickiest spyware/malware. The tool is also free.
Another great software for finding and removing malware: Spybot Search & Destroy
Spybot Search & Destroy is a great anti-malware software that has been around a while now. It is also free. Spybot has been around on the market for a long-time, but it is still effective. The unique feature of Spybot is that it comes with TeaTimer, which can be installed as an option. TeaTimer actively protects the computer registry against unauthorized changes. This is a great protection against any programs that try to change your home page, your start up items, or worse, your computer memory.
Other than the TeaTimer, Spybot also has preventative protection with its Immunization feature. When you run the program once a month, make sure to update it first, then run the immunization and the spyware search & destroy.
Note: Some recent users seem to have had issues with Spybot. This may be an issue with Vista. I have not had issues installing this software on 10+ computers of friends and family. If you have installed both SpywareBlaster and Malwarebytes, you do not have to install Spybot.
PC Security Tip #3. Last but not least – Firewall Protection – Online Armor, Filseclab, ZoneAlarm,
I have used ZoneAlarm for years. It is a very good firewall protection software, but I have two complaints. First, it can often conflict with other computers especially if you have a home network set up or are using your PC/notebook in an area with a network. Secondly, ZoneAlarm can also be a resource hogger.
Online Armor is another firewall software that I used recently. I like the look & feel as well as functionality. I didn’t have any major issues with Online Armor; I switched to the firewall below to save CPU resources.
Currently, I am using Filseclab. The name is difficult to pronounce, to spell, or to even remember, and the taskbar icon is ugly. However, this little firewall does it’s job just fine and has a very small footprint and CPU usage. In addition, it does not have any conflict issues, and it tells me what it just blocked along with the IP address. I really do not have any issues with Fil-se-clab at all.
Here are the download links for firewall software in order of recommendation:
- View ratings & download Filseclab – only 4mb; works on XP and older versions
- View ratings & download Online Armor – 10mb
- View ratings & download Zone Alarm – 50mb!!
PC Security Tip #4. “OK, installed all the recommended security & protection software. What’s next?”
Here are a few last tips for keeping your computer clean and running at optimal performance
- Make sure to run virus checks on flash drives EVERY TIME that you insert them into your computer
- Make sure to run virus checks on all email attachments, downloaded files, etc (if you use gmail or other good email clients not named Outlook, you are probably more safe)
- Stop using Internet Explorer 6. This browser is riddled with security holes. At the very least, you need to upgrade to version 8. Or better yet, download a safer & faster browser Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or Google Chrome.
- Make sure to visit respectable sites for downloading files
- Make sure to clean your hard drive (CCleaner is great) and defragment (Smart Defrag with optimizer is awesome) once every month or so
- Make sure to update and run your anti-virus and anti-malware programs once a month or so
With that said…
Best wishes for a happy and peaceful PC usage! 😀