I no longer pay to secure my PCs and my home wireless network. I used to — and the software I used were very good — but I found that I could save money by installing a combination of highly-rated security applications that are free.
Antivirus: AVG Free
- Anti-Virus , Anti-Spyware, Smart Anti-Rootkit: keeps out and prevents the spread of even the toughest viruses or spyware
- AVG LinkScanner: Checks web pages in real time before they are visited, and displays safety ratings in search results
- AVG Social Networking Protection: Providing exactly what it says in its name
Spyware Protection: Spybot Search & Destroy
I am never sure whether all spyware is going to be detected and removed by any one application, so I also keep a copy of Spybot Search & Destroy running on my computers as well. It detects and notifies you if it uncovers spyware, it will not allow applets to be installed (e.g., toolbars) without getting permission, it will not allow the registry to be secretly changed without permission. It:
- removes adware, spyware, and keyloggers
- removes trojans and other baddies (tho I rely on my antivirus to take the lead)
- removes usage tracks
- permanently blocks threatening ActiveX downloads
I use the ZoneAlarm firewall, because Microsoft’s firewall security still leave something to be desired. This free versionis designed to be used alongside an antivirus program, and though it provides both inbound and outbound protection, perhaps its strongest benefit is the outbound firewall.
An inbound firewall blocks threats coming in from the outside, but an outbound firewall does more than prevent a computer from spreading viruses and malware to others. For example, if your PC has been compromised by a botnet, outbound protection will stop it from sending your data back to its host servers. It can also stop program spoofing, which is when a malicious program pretends to be a good one, and IP spoofing, which is when harmful network transmissions mask themselves as safe ones.
I personally think this is the Trifecta of Security. If you get a REALLY nasty virus or trojan, you might have to upgrade to a fee-based version, but so far (knock wood), this has not happened to me.