what do i need to keep my computer secure?(for free)


what browsers, programs, advice can you offer to keep my computer secure?

already have zonealarm and a router firewall and adaware and spybot s&d

Sounds like you’ve got a good start already. I’d suggest anything other than IE for your web browser. I prefer Firefox, but you can really use whatever you’re comfortable with.

I’d also suggest a virus scanner. There are some, like Avast! 4 Home, that are free. It may not be as good as Norton or McAfee, but it’s better than nothing.

And don’t neglect your Windows updates.

Browser: Anything besides Netscape and IE.

Programs: Zonealarm, Spybot, Adaware, Norton (I know it’s not free… but, you can’t really beat it)

Hardware: Hard-firewall, dial up connection (or one that times out, because it lessens the time that someone has access to your computer).

Advice: Don’t let your kids on, to download whatever they want. Don’t dowload suspicious items. Don’t run suspicious programs. Run Virusscan at least once a week, and update it! Read virus alerts posted on the internet. Get a private email address, and strictly filter spam.

If worse comes to worse. Unplug your computer.

a router firewall is a ‘hard firewall’, right?

i almost never download attachments from email, so i don’t think i have to worry about attachments infecting me.

In addition to Spybot and AdAware, run SpywareBlaster to prevent over 1200 different flavors of spyware from ever installing on your computer.

I use AVG Free antivirus from Grisoft.com and Sygate Personal Firewall, plus a few different spyware killers.

I guess I’m pretty ignorant about these matters - are Netscape and IE major problems in regards to the security of my machine?

(I too am a Spybot/Zonealarm/Avast person, btw).

The only way to be secure. No connection to the internet, no connection to another computer, don’t use floppies that were ever in another computer, don’t use cd’s that you didn’t get out of the package. There, that should be secure.

Realistically, it sounds like you’ve done pretty well what you can.

Most of the spyware out there has been written to take advantage of holes in IE and Netscape. Netscape is a bit better but a true version of Mozilla or some other would be best.

In a word, yes. Far more so with IE.

Windows updates are one of the most important aspects of security - if you’re using XP, you can set it to download them automatically as soon as they’re available. And XP Service Pack 2 is due out in a month or two, which is a major development.

The one thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is to not use Outlook or Outlook Express as your email app.

What alternatives are there? I ask because I don’t know----

Mozilla is an integrated browser and email client - the two are available separately, as Firefox and Thunderbird. All from www.mozilla.org

Others will be along with other recommendations shortly :slight_smile:

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Another vote for going with either Mozilla or a Firebird/Thunderbird combo. IE is full of security holes that let spyware install just by visting a site, no clicking on anything necessary. Also Firebird offers features that are lacking in IE - tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, proper transparent .png support, better CSS compliance, all sorts of neat, useful extensions (like mouse gestures, Flashblock, Adblock), ect.

Forget Windows, you need Linux. No viruses, & with a properly configured firewall, hacker-proof too.

I tried Avast and it locked my computer up and came up as spyware (key logger). I wouldn’t recommend it.

AVG recently got rid of a couple of trojans that somehow got past my router.

I do the same thing and have not had any problems. No one set of programs that are recommended here will keep you 100% spware/malware/virus free though so the best defence is vigilance and safe computing practices. Stay up to date on your patches and virus sig files. Do periodic virus and spyware scans. Don’t open attachments sent to you from people you don’t know and be wary of those from people you do know.

Does Spybot always take a long time? Right now, it’s creating a System Restore points, and it’s been doing that for hours. (And I don’t have a lot on this computer, since it’s almost brand new).

What gives?