Security software

Computer security

Security is of prime importance for your computer, so it’s essential to choose good security software. If your computer is compromised, the end result is impossible to gauge. Your system could suffer, your documents could be erased, your financial details could be stolen, and you might never even be aware of it, until, of course, it’s too late. I imagine some people will think I’m being paranoid, but I’ve seen the effects of virus attacks close up, and it’s not nice. I guess most people have.

These days, thankfully, the security software available is better than ever, and if you’re careful to use good security software and keep it regularly updated, you have every chance of staying safe. But whatever software you use, make sure you run regular scans.

For safety purposes, I never depend totally on one piece of security software. This isn’t to doubt the quality of the security software I choose to use, but no software is perfect. Even the best can miss some items, and even regularly updated software can still be unaware of some of the most recent threats.

Having said that, here’s the stuff I use.

Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall

You can sleep easy with Windows Firewall
guarding your perimeter! It’s ‘got your back’!

There’s not much to be said about Windows Firewall. You set it up, you leave it alone to get on with its job, and it protects you. It’s dependable, and it doesn’t bother you with pointless messages all the time. In other words, it behaves itself impeccably! That’s all you want from a program really, specially one doing something as vital as providing firewall protection.

Actually, I wasn’t going to include any firewall security because it’s taken for granted so much that I didn’t even consider it at first. But the more you think of it, a firewall is one of the most important parts of your computer’s security. It’s your first line of defence. And if it’s doing its job, and doing it successfully, that’s why you tend to take it for granted. You actually forget about it after a while. But without it, you’d be in a whole heap of trouble. If you’re using Windows, let Windows Firewall be the mainstay of your security software.

Zone Alarm

Zone Alarm

Zone Alarm provides the first line of defence. Without a firewall, you’re open to attacks from the moment you switch on

I used Zone Alarm for years, and it provided excellent protection as a firewall. The only reason I don’t use it now is that I use Windows’ own inbuilt firewall. They both do excellent work, and provide basic protection. I say basic because some things can still reach you through a firewall, even if it’s doing a good job.

You need both a firewall and an anti-virus program operating if you want to do your best to stay safe online. And although I don’t currently use Zone Alarm, and haven’t for several years, I know it’s a trusted program. In fact, according to their website, “trusted by 85 million”. The paid for version includes anti-virus and anti-spyware modules and 24 hour support as well, but for the home user, Zone Alarm Free does the trick perfectly well (as long as you don’t ignore the need for some other software to tackle viruses and the like).

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials

Get the strength of Microsoft Security Essentials around you!

Microsoft Security Essentials is a really dependable anti-virus program that I use. I’ve used several different ones over the years, and I never had many complaints about them, to be fair. But when Microsoft introduced its own anti-virus program, I knew it had to be good. They simply wouldn’t risk their reputation being attached to something ‘flaky’. And since I’ve used it, it’s never let me down.

That’s not to say Microsoft Security Essentials catches absolutely everything. Probably no anti-virus program can do that, since viruses are developing all the time, and new ones are being released ‘into the wild’ every day. For this reason, I always have a backup.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes provides a strong backup

Malwarebytes is another excellent anti-virus program. Again, I can’t recomend it highly enough. There is a ‘pro’ version available, but the free version of Malwarebytes is good enough for most situations. I run Malwarebytes about once a week, and I trust it to find anything that MSE has missed.

To be fair, they both do such a good job of standing guard and watching for virus attacks that there’s only rarely anything left to catch when they do a scheduled scan. They both run in the background and protect my system pretty well.

AVG

AVG

AVG Anti Virus may be free, but it’s always been highy rated

AVG is also excellent. I used it for years, and depended solely on it. I remember, when I used to get computer magazines regularly, seeing AVG in the anti-virus program best software list, and usually in the top three, and that included both free and paid-for programs. Says a lot about the program! It’s still highly rated too.

Advanced SystemCare

Advanced System Care

There’s more to Advanced System Care
than just an anti-virus utility

This is more than an anti-virus utility, or a junk file cleaner. Advanced SystemCare consists of a whole batch of utilities that take care of these problems, but also address such issues as disk cleaning, checking the registry, defragging the hard drive, fixing shortcuts, highlighting empty folders, giving you full system information, undeleting files you wish you hadn’t deleted, shredding files you wish you had, etc.

I use Advanced SystemCare occassionally. I don’t think it’s over-the-top to use more than one program for security purposes – if one was perfect, that would be enough, but is there such as thing as a truly perfect program? Even the very best can’t be fully up-to-date at all times, and even the best don’t address every eventuality.

SUPERantispyware

SUPERAntiSpyware

SUPERAntiSpyware clears out all those annoying ads and junk

SUPERantispyware keeps an eye out for any spyware and adware, and although this stuff isn’t nearly as dangerous or malicious as viruses, it can be extremely annoying and troublesome. I don’t quite know what companies are thinking when they release those nasty little adware things that infect your system, but if they think it will coax you to buy their stuff, they’re so way off beam. All it does is convince you to never have anything to do with their company.

I had something recently that kept opening tabs and trying to get me to go to their site(s). It was also slowing my system down and stopping web pages from loading. They would start to load as normal, but never actually complete. This happened only on certain sites, but it was enough. Enough to annoy me endlessly and interfere with whatever I was doing at the time!

Eventually, I came across a mention of SUPERantispyware when I was googling for a solution, and I remembered that I used to use this program some years ago. Once I downloaded it (it’s freeware, by the way), it cleaned my system up in no time.

CCleaner

CCleaner

CCleaner tidies up all those left-over junk files
and garbage, streamlines your registry and uninstalls unwanted programs

CCleaner is a very small, compact program whose main job is to clean junk files of all kinds out of your system. It’s very good at what it does. When it’s scanned and found a stack of files, it displays them for you to check before deleting.

You pretty soon get used to the fact that CCleaner really does highlight only junk files (as a general rule, but you can check of course, if you want to). It also has a built-in registry cleaner and a fast, efficient program uninstaller, and, as I said before, it’s very good at what it does.

CCleaner is the world’s most popular tool for cleaning your PC, according to their website. Oh, and it mentions that there’ve been over one billion downloads! And nearly 25% of the world’s PCs have CCleaner installed on them. That’s a couple of pretty persuasive statistics, I think you’ll agree 🙂

A great piece of software from Piriform.

Er … and they’re giving this away??

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