Malware, trojans, worms, adware and a range of other viruses, as well as hacker-attacks, are just some of the nasty things that can harm your computer. If you aren't taking steps to protect yourself from these potential disasters, then you're making it easier for these criminals to invade your computer, business and life.
Even if you use a supposedly comprehensive security program, chances are it isn't going to protect you against everything. There are so many ways hackers and viruses can get at you. You typically need several security programs working together to adequately guard your computer, data and identity.
Antivirus software should be the centerpiece of your security, it is designed to protect your computer (or other digital device) against the millions of viruses floating around online. Without it, trojans, ransomware, worms and other malware can damage or steal your data, emails, and sensitive information such as financial records and passwords. There are lots of antivirus software programs available, just figure out which one is best for you (there are lots of reviews online to help you decide).
One more thing to remember, when it comes to antivirus programs, more is not better. Don’t attempt to run more than one antivirus program on your computer (or other device) at the same time; because one AV program may view another as an intruder it may block certain screening protocols and thus actually open your environment up to real attacks.
Here are 20 of the more popular AntiVirus Software Programs (alphabetical order, not the result of any ranking):
Firewalls are intended to guard access to your computer in the same way that “cities of old” or ‘castles’ put up walls for protection. Hackers and malware are designed to ‘find you’ on the internet (or via other media access to your computer), and then break-in, worm, or hide their way into your operating system or data. Many Antivirus program offer firewalls as does the operating system of your computer. Windows 7, 8 and 10 have fairly good firewalls, these are enabled by default, and which Microsoft seems to keep updated. The Mac Operating System also has a decent firewall that needs to be turned on under Security & Privacy Preferences.
Like those cities or castles with walls that had ‘gates’, your computer needs a way to communicate. If you build a wall that is solid and has no access to the outside, how would you ever reach the internet, or work on a company network. Applications like QuickBooks that run in a client-server (or semi-client server) type environment need access to data and the database server which might be on an entirely different computer. In terms of firewalls, the ‘gate-like’ openings that permit communication are called ‘ports’. While it might seem that you would just ‘open the ports’ to let traffic flow, you have to control the flow of traffic. If the leaders in Troy (of ancient Greece) had done their job and properly regulated the flow of traffic they wouldn’t have brought that ‘horse replica’ through the gates only to be surprised by the troops hidden inside.
Your firewall uses preset rules to control incoming and outgoing traffic, and disrupt the ‘free flow’ of communications using techniques like stateful inspection and packet filtering. They also work with the Antivirus program and other security software to guard against such invasions while at the same time permitting desired traffic to come and go without restriction. This is why many Antivirus software programs also offer a version that incorporates their proprietary firewall applications.
Here are 10 of the most commonly recommended Firewall Software programs on the market (alphabetical order, not the result of any ranking):
- Total Defense
Even with a firewall, perfect computer security is still impossible. The Mongol hordes still invaded china despite the construction of a wall (the Great Wall of China) that can still today be recognized from space.
Anti-spyware is intended to counter ‘spyware’. Spyware is software used to gather personal information without the user’s knowledge. These programs can maliciously degrade system performance and alter computer settings. While many antivirus programs or security suites offer anti-spyware options, some do not. Typically anti-spyware specializes in detecting, preventing and eliminating cryptics, adware, key-loggers, rootkits, email scanning, and other spyware.
The most commonly recommended Anti-spyware programs include (alphabetical order, not the result of any ranking):
Unfortunately, even with one of each of these, or a comprehensive security suite, you may still not catch every threat. That’s why you need some other ‘response’ appropriate solutions. We will look at those alternative in part 2 of this series.