Page 3 of 9: Security


To secure your computer, you need an inbound/outbound personal firewall (a software that scans incoming and outgoing traffic to your computer, to protect from hackers and malware), an anti-virus scanner (to scan web pages, email and files for virus/trojans) and a spyware blocker. There is a great thread on our forum that discusses free security software, you can read this thread here. Be sure to only choose one of each type of security software (eg. 1 firewall, 1 anti-virus, 1 spyware blocker), as if you install multiple software, they might conflict with each other and leave you unprotected. The exception is for anti-spyware, where you can use Windows Defender for realtime scanning, and then Spybot S&D to scan your entire system just in case something has slipped through. At the end of this section, there is also some information on how to protect your online privacy.

If you've followed this guide, you are already using Windows Firewall. We will now examine some better choices for firewall software, since Windows Firewall does not protect you from outbound traffic (traffic from your computer, which might be malware or a trojan trying to spread itself to your friend's computers). Here are the choices:

ZoneAlarm Basic

ZoneAlarm URL: ZoneAlarm Basic
Description: ZoneAlarm is a commercial firewall/security software suite, but has a free basic version that works great as a personal firewall.
License: Freeware (less features than commercial version). Save $20 when you Download ZoneAlarm Security Suite today

Comodo Free Firewall

Comodo Free Firewall URL: Comodo Free Firewall
Description: Comodo Free Firewall, winner of PC Magazine Online's Editor's Choice award, offers out-of-the-box protection against identity theft hackers, Trojans, scripts and other unknown threats.
License: Freeware

Now for an anti-virus tool. There are also free alternatives to popular commercial choices such as Norton or McAfee:

AVG Anti-Virus Free

AVG Anti-Virus Free URL:
Description: AVG Anti-Virus provides protection from virus and trojans for non commercial home use, with regular updates to keep you safe. Supports Windows Vista.
License: Freeware (for non commercial use)

avast! antivirus

avast! antivirus URL:
Description: avast! 4 Home Edition is a full-featured antivirus package designed exclusively for home users and non-commercial use. Supports Windows Vista.
License: Freeware (for non commercial use)


ClamWin URL:
Description: ClamWin is a free open source antivirus software, but does not include realtime scanning
License: Open Source

Here are some tools that will protect you from spyware, malware and other unwanted software. And yes, we finally have a recommendation of a Microsoft software. A recommended setup is to use Windows Defender for realtime scanning, and then Spybot S&D or Ad-Aware to scan your entire system just in case something has slipped through.

Windows Defender

Windows Defender URL:
Description: Free from Microsoft to provide realtime defence against unwanted software. Only requirement is a genuine version of Windows. Supports Windows Vista.
License: Freeware

Spybot - Search & Destroy

Spybot - Search & Destroy URL:
Description: Spybot - Search & Destroy is non realtime anti-spyware tool
License: Freeware

Ad-Aware SE Personal

Ad-Aware SE Personal URL: Ad-Aware SE Personal
Description: Ad-Aware SE Personal offer free spyware removal, but does not offer realtime protection.
License: Freeware

Finally, there is the issue of privacy. When you browse websites, a lot of information about your computer is sent over, part of the way the Internet works unfortunately. To protect your privacy, you can use a free anonymous proxy or use an online anonymizer tool like the-cloak. For an easier to setup and more reliable solution, try Tor, which is a package of several tools that will make it impossible to track your online movements. The best thing about Tor is that a Firefox add-on is available that allows it to be enabled and disabled at the click of a button (some sites are not compatible with Tor, and browsing is much slower when using it, so sometimes you may want to disable it). Speaking of Firefox add-ons, there are lots of security and privacy related add-ons for this browser here (NoScript is a good one to get rid of scripts on web pages, which is a main source of malicious code and it also stops ads from displaying).



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