Protective software : Reviewing a collection of free software & links to their websites
The best way to keep your system clean, is prevent having to clean up. There is no intention of giving a complete overview of available free software. Always evaluate software before installation to make sure that is is still free for private use. Careful to never install toolbars & additional software. When you need to CLEAN UP your computer after infection, first let the tools here below run a diagnostics & cleansing. Than go to the “Clean & Repair” pages for more.
Why install separate pieces of protective software when there are full protection suites available? Because :
Full protective suites are payware
Most are strong in one type of protection, less in all types of protection.
If you prefer after all one solution for all your protection, and you agree to pay, I would use the Spanish Panda Software. It is an overall strong solution that exists since protection had a name. I’ve used Panda for many years on one of my PC’s and I’ve learned to trust it. It uses relatively little resources. But Panda and you don’t need to read any further ;-)
AVG scores high in comparative tests, even compared to payware. It is frequently updated, user friendly, stable as a rock. Careful to install only their free version (stand alone anti virus). (Never use more than one antivirus scanner simultaneously!)
Avast was always the plain ugliest under the antivirus solutions. But it is good? Damn good. So,... in need for a good antivirus solution? Trust Avast. The antivirus & anti-spyware is free. (Never use more than one antivirus scanner simultaneously!)
A good antivirus scanner. Tested it often, never stayed long on any of my PC’s. I’m not comfortable with it but don’t deny it’s overall qualities. (Never use more than one antivirus scanner simultaneously!)
How about a virus, detected but not yet/fully removed?
Symantec Removal Tool offers the free tools and/or the information how to clean up one virus. This is a brilliant alternative when other tools failed to clean your system. Of course, you need to know the name of the virus.
What if your PC is infected but you have no idea by what?
Panda Cloud Antivirus is still free and detects and attempts to remove the infection. It’s the alternative for a genuine virus scanner, except if the new in the wild infection comes form other than online and you are off-line. Bad luck ;-) Remember that the database is off-line. And you still need to install software, though it has little impact on your system resources. I still advice to be careful using it when you have another scanner running. Until further notice, temporarily close down the virus scanner that failed to detect/clean before running Panda Cloud AV. (Read more about “In the Cloud” software & tools.)
Zero Day Protection
Treatfire (by PC Tools)is still free and competes with payware like Norton Antibot. It is a good addition to your security pack when it comes to detecting bad behavior even before it is known in the field. It attempts to protect from viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, rootkits and buffer overflows. You can use this alongside with any anti-virus solution. (Never use more than one zero-day protection solution!)
Where to begin? No idea where to begin? Going crazy? Read this first, take a deep breath, relax.
First line of defense: A trustworthy provider that offers virus check & spam control on your mail. This limits viral infections by mail but does not protect your system from malwares & spywares. Don’t go for the cheap solution when it comes to the provider. Compare before you pay. Providing is more than pure theoretical speed for a fair price. It’s also a matter of bandwidth, stability, security,... and don’t forget the extra goodies like mail forwarding, DNS, webhosting,...
Second line of defense: Your computer or network could be co-protected by a trustworthy hardware firewall (router). Wireless is fine if you configure the router decently. If not, you have an open door in stead of a second line of defense. Ask professional advice to configure your router if you are not familiar with with this kinda hardware.
Third line of defense: Update the Swiss cheese named Windows to have holes patched while new holes are created. Go to update.microsoft.com for the latest updates of your OS or keep Windows auto-updated and have it download and install patches and hotfixes: Configuration screen > System > auto updates. More Windows security news & tools :
After updating your Windows version, you are ready to install more protective software. Do not forget to make a system recovery point. Don’t exaggerate.
There is a firewall inside Windows. So, if that firewall is activated, don’trun an additional firewall. The Windows firewall is “not bad” from Windows 6 (Vista) up. But the in/out really gooood protecting walls carry other names. So,... close down that Windows firewall and try something else. You’ll see what I mean. Always start with the highest level of protection and gradually evaluate (teach the wall) where you let the doors open for friendly passengers.
This simple piece of software is around for ages, but still it is a Must Have ! It immunizes your system agaist a limited number of spyware.
Protection against drive-by-downloads.
The first Browser (since juli 2010) to offer Drive-by-download protection is Opera. The scanner included is from AVG. It does not replace an antivirus scanner to protect your entire system, but it will avoid dangerous viral downloads while you visit “not so safe” web sites. Opera is the most innovative of all browsers, always a step ahead.
Non Opera users : Download McAfee Site Advisor to avoid your browser to be used as entry for infection.
The best way to find out if you have all necessary defenses up and running is to let loose a trusted burglar. The goal is to see where backdoors are open, windows are not locked, archives out of date, guards are sleeping on the job, the keys are under the doormat.
F-Secure Health Check works with various browsers. Of cource, F-Secure will propose it’s own solutions for problems found, but the diagnostics are accurate. So feel free to use this tool and don’t feel obliged to accept their proposed solutions. Find some free solutions on these pages.
Audit my PC offers some tools that you should try out at least once. (Ignore the Google sponsored links on their site.)
PC Pitstop offers a full battery of tests. Simple and straightforward. You will have to make an account to use their tools.
Speedguide.net (advanced users) offers a wide range of tools like a TCP/IP analyzer, a TCP optimizer, a Security Scanner, a Speed test, network Tools, and ore.
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