Computer Security Software

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The current market is cluttered with security software offering 4 to 15 features. Which of these software features is important? What do you really need? Which are already present on your computer? Almost all vendors sell a basic version and then have a premium package that costs more. Are the extra dollars worth it? Keep reading to find out.

The ones you absolutely need

Anti Virus – Detects and removes viruses from your hard drive, e-mail and downloaded files. Need to update frequently and automatically to keep up with the latest viruses.

Personal Firewall – Blocks hackers and other malicious network programs that attempt to attack your computer and your network. Monitors incoming and outgoing network connections from your computer.

Anti-Spyware – Blocks and removes spyware / adware that is a program or malicious code hidden in acceptable files. This includes the latest rootkit programs used to hide malware, spyware, other detection programs.

The good at the rich

Anti-Phishing / Fraud Defense – Protects you against online scams designed to steal credit card and bank account numbers. This feature is already present in the most common browsers – Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Wireless Network Monitoring – Protects against unauthorized users invading your home wireless network. You can configure this installation in your wireless router with access credentials, passwords, and network addresses.

Online Identity Protection – Protects against online identity theft. Again, most transaction sites provide secure authentication. In addition, most credit and debit cards now offer a full refund online protection service.

The extras

Anti Spam – Filters annoying and potentially dangerous emails. If you use a webmail service such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail, they are already providing this service. Even if you open a bad email, you should be protected if you have the other tools running.

Pop-up Blocker – Blocks pop-ups and potentially unsafe scripts. The most popular browsers (IE and Firefox) already have this built-in utility.

More recently, security software has been proposed with software for data backup and system performance. These are extras and should already be part of your operating system. Most security companies offer more or less the same features and capabilities. Everyone knows Norton and McAfee. Two other projects to consider are Trend Micro and Zone Labs. Almost all have free versions to download and test. Another company offering a good free antivirus is AVG (Grisoft).

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