software for protection

Now I’m sure that there are many ways in which that thread title could be interpreted as raunchy - I thought of a few while I was typing it. But it’s also the most descriptive title I could think of.

I have a new computer, and want to know what the latest, greatest free software is for 1) a firewall and 2)periodic virus scrubbing. I do have ad-aware and spybot, they have served me well.

But what else is out there that I don’t know about? Help me protect the virgin quality of my new, beautiful toy!

I use ZonAlarm for firewall and AVG for virus.

That should read “ZoneAlarm”

ZoneAlarm was so good as freeware that I bought the more feature-rich version. It is, by the way, the only freeware firewall-style software I know of.

I use Norton Anti-Virus. Yes, I know it’s not free, but it’s reasonably-priced, well-supported (usually) and very reliable. As a result of NAV and some careful use of the Internet, I have (so far) avoided viruses. I do run it constantly, though; on my work computer I run it every night. That’s certainly overkill, but then I don’t have to remember if I’ve run it or not, and I can then rely on my work computer as much as I do on my work telephone!

LavaSoft has a free version of its AdAware spyware-checking software.

I’m sure you can find free anti-virus software, but it may not be as good as NAV at protecting you.

The best protection is social engineering:
[li]Develop good passwords and change them regularly.[/li][li]Don’t share passwords with anyone.[/li][li]If you have to write down passwords, protect them with other passwords you can remember.[/li][li]Keep your records and work desk secure. Never walk away from your computer without at least “software” locking it.[/li][li]Don’t let web sites set “remember me” cookies on your laptop.[/li][li]Get a program like Quicken and use it to check your credit card and bank balances on a daily basis. Even though crooks are getting through to credit data these days, you’re still much more exposed by careless and/or dishonest retail people in face-to-face transactions (this, BTW, is the only type of fraud anyone has every tried on me, and I caught it in Quicken only a day after it happened).[/li][/ul]


I get McAfee for free through my University, for at least a little while longer.

Opalcat taught me a great password trick - it involves using the first letter of each of an arbitrary number of words from your favorite song, then a code for an identifier for each website you visit. (Identifier could be translate first two letters of website name into numbers) Then, as long as you can remember your identifier code, you have an easy and differerent password for each site you visit.

Not to scare you or anything, but according to a recent report from the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team, most anti-virus software misses 80% of the malware, because the malware writers test their software against popular antivirus programs.

Don’t browse while logged in on an administrator account.

If you want a nice way to be able to clean up your system to a very happy place, before you do any risky browsing, install all your apps, drivers, etc, and get an app to image your drive. That way if anythng goes horribly wrong you can always pop it right back to that nice clean new PC situation.

Two words…

VMWare Sandbox :smiley: