Keep your computer secure the free way!

In today’s online e-commerce marketplace you need to keep you computer secure to protect your credit card data or other personal information online. I have complied a list of four excellent free software programs to protect you from viruses, spyware and intrusion attempts.

————— Virus Protection and Removal —————

First and most important for you to have on all your computers is a reliable well updated virus scanning software.

I recommend using: Avast Virus Scanning and On-Access Scanner (Direct Link To Download Page)

Avast is updated nearly everyday with latest virus definitions. Avast is very CPU friendly compared to Norton Anti-Virus or other anti-virus software.

Avast most importantly has live virus scanning for both your files and emails.

————— Firewall —————

A firewall is a great intrusion prevention device. All Windows should already be running Windows Firewall (you can turn it on via Start –> Control Panel –> Network and Internet Connections –> Network Connections –> Select your Connection –> Properties –> Select the Advanced Tab –> Follow the on Screen Instructions)

In addition to the windows firewall its best to have a more heavy duty firewall in place with more protections.
I recommend using: Zone Alarm Firewall Free Version (Direct Link to Download Page)

ZoneAlarm is an excellent firewall that allows you to block or allow access to any program or person. ZoneAlarm systematically identifies hackers and blocks access attempts and automatically makes your computer invisible to anyone on the Internet.

————— Spyware Protection and Removal —————

Two excellent spyware removal tools are:

Ad-aware – provides advanced protection against spyware that secretly attaches and takes control of your computer, resulting in aggressive advertising pop-ups, sluggish computer activity, even identity theft through stolen bank details, passwords, and credit card account numbers. If you want real-time scanning capabilities, consider upgrading to Ad-Aware SE Plus for real-time protection against spyware. (Direct Link to Download Page)

Spybot Search and Destroy – detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat not yet covered by common anti-virus applications. Spyware silently tracks your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile for you that is transmitted without your knowledge to the compilers and sold to advertising companies. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you haven’t intentionally installed, if your browser crashes inexplicably, or if your home page has been “hijacked” (or changed without your knowledge), your computer is most probably infected with spyware. Even if you don’t see the symptoms, your computer may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging. Spybot-S&D is free, so there’s no harm giving it a try to see if something has invaded your computer. (Direct Link to Download Page)