OneStopShoppingForSecurity


One stop shopping for free security software

review from ClifNotes, April 2007, permalink Security Tools

 

Earlier this week, Adam, a friend of mine at work, asked me for a list of free tools to help protect his PC. He'd just gotten his first broadband connection and was going to wipe his PC clean for a fresh start. The day before he asked me, he performed a little experiment. He hooked his Windows XP computer up to the broadband connection without a firewall or anti-virus program installed. He told me that within 3 minutes, the PC was nearly unusable. All the bad stuff out there found his PC and jumped right on board. Definitely don't try this unless you have nothing to lose.

 

The next day, I gave Adam my list of freeware protection software. I didn't intend this list to be the best advice out there, but it will work fine for most people. The best part is that all the stuff below is free and you can get all of it from a single trusted source.

 

Quote from my letter to Adam:

Hi Adam,

 

One stop shopping at Snapfiles freeware site.

 

Firewalls:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwfirewall.html

Any of the 4 star programs will do. Comodo is rated best by many independent gurus, but it's not as easy to use as Zone Alarm.

 

Anti-Virus:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwvirus.html

Avast is rated best, but AVG is better on slower (dial-up) machines. Again, anything with a 4 star rating is good.

 

Anti-Malware:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwantispy.html

This section is trickier. I'll make some specific recommendations:

 

You'll want one active Anti-Spyware program. (never use two active shield A-S programs at once)

Microsoft Windows Defender

or Spyware Guard

or Spybot S&D (with TeaTimer installed)

 

Two additional Anti-Spyware scanning programs from this list.

Ad-Aware (must have)

or Spybot S&D without the optional TeaTimer (TeaTimer is an active shield)

or Spyware Terminator

 

Misc anti-malware protection:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwantispy.html

 

One ActiveX blocking program

Spyware Blaster (doesn't scan your PC, it just blocks bad stuff on the net)

 

One Anti-Phishing browser plug-in.

McAfee Site Advisor (very important, lets you know if you surf to a bad website)

 

One Anti-Rootkit scanner

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwsecuritytools.html

Rootkit Revealer is good but may give an occasional false positive reading (Don't panic!)

Questions about RR can be answered at Security forums like http://temerc.com

 

How to use them?

Your Firewall, Anti-Virus, and active Anti-Spyware are going to be running all the time. They should update automatically or tell you if it's needed.

 

Scanners can be used once a week or once a month depending on how paranoid you are.

They should be updated before each use.

 

Spyware Blaster should be updated and run once a month to keep you protected from ActiveX downloads while using Internet Explorer.

 

The McAfee Site Advisor plugin will work in Internet Explorer and Firefox web browsers. No action needed once it's installed.

 

Put all of these in place before you connect to the internet if you can. At minimum, at least have the Firewall in place and only go to these download locations to get the rest of the booty.

 

The best things in life are still free ...

 

Clif