The Internet can be an easy place to shop for gifts, pay your bills, keep in touch with family and manage your bank accounts. Of course, with this convenience also comes risk with transmitting so much personal information over the net where those with nefarious intentions can be waiting to steal your credit card numbers or personal details. You can make the net a friendlier place, however, by employing a suite of security tools that will protect you and ensure your computer stays secure. Here are 100 such tools that won’t cost you a thing to try out.
Some viruses are designed to allow hackers to harvest your personal information and take control of your computer. Put a stop to that with these helpful anti-virus programs.
- AVG Anti-Virus: Created in 1991, this anti-virus program provides users with regular updates, spyware detection, email scam protection and phishing alerts.
- BitDefender: Those in search of a good on-demand virus scanner may want to check out this free option. While it doesn’t have always-on capabilities, it will help you find any viruses that are lurking on your system.
- A-Squared: This malware scanner will alert you of dangers like trojan horses, backdoors, worms, viruses, keyloggers and more. Users should be aware, however, that it only works with IE, so if you use Firefox another program may work better.
- Command on Demand Scanner: Check out this program for a simple-to-use online virus checker that works within IE.
- ESET Online Scanner: Make sure your computer is avoiding the worst virus infections by using this helpful Internet Explorer-based scanner.
- Freedom Online Virus Check: This online virus scanner works within both Firefox and IE, and allows users to keep their computers free of potential harmful viruses and malware.
- Avast!: This anti-virus program uses an MP3 player-like interface to allow users to scan their computers and email for viruses and spyware. Newer versions of the program have introduced P2P and IM protection as well.
- Avira AntiVir: Avira has consistently been ranked among one of the best free anti-virus programs and comes with regular updates and a variety of scanning options. One drawback, however, is the intrusive ads that pop up when the program updates.
- Rising Antivirus: This program is fairly new on the market and allows users free access to virus scans of their computers as well as email protection and a variety of other features.
- Panda ActiveScan: If you don’t want to install a whole anti-virus program and just want to double check a file on your computer, try this online virus scanner from Panda Security.
Keep annoying spyware from tracking what you do on the Internet with these free applications.
- Ad-Aware: By far the most popular of the free anti-spyware software, this program makes it easy to keep up with updates, scan your computer and remove unwanted programs.
- Ewido Networks Anti-Spyware: Use this online scanner to determine if your computer is infected with malware. You’ll get protection and you won’t have to pay or install a thing to do it.
- Spybot Search and Destroy: This spyware detection tool works exceptionally well and won’t cost you a thing to use. Windows users can run the program to locate harmful spyware, trojans, keyloggers and more.
- Windows Defender: You can get Windows Defender free from Microsoft if you can verify you’re running a legal version of Windows XP. You’ll then be able to scan for harmful spyware and malware that could be bogging down your computer and sharing your private information.
- Max Secure Spyware Detector: Try this program to get rootkit, keylogger and heuristic protection in addition to a speedy spyware scanning program.
- SUPER Anti-Spyware: This program is easy to install and use and provides good protection against a wide variety of internet threats.
- SpywareBlaster: With this tool, you’ll be able to prevent ActiveX-based spyware from installing itself on your computer and block cookies from sites that use them to track your browsing habits.
- Spyware Guard: This program keeps running behind the scenes to give you real-time protection from spyware and browser hijacking.
- HiJack This!: With HiJack This you’ll be able to manually search and find spyware on your computer, and it is better designed to suit the needs of those who have a good knowledge of computers and how spyware functions.
- a2 Free: With a2 you’ll be able to manually scan your computer to detect harmful programs and cookies that contain trojans, malware, dialers, worms, sniffers and more.
- STOPzilla: This program has tested well and was found to block nearly all spyware, so give it a try when working to protect your computer.
- Perfect Process: Check out this program for easy to operate protection from a variety of spyware, malware and other internet junk that can clutter your system.
- Who’s Watching Me?: Feel like your computer is being watched by someone? You can get access to this free program to find out just who, if anyone, is spying on your private information.
- PrivacyKeyboard: Try installing this program to protect yourself from spyware and malware and also dangerous keylogging programs designed to keep track of what you’re typing.
- Arovax Shield: Get real-time protection from spyware and malware by using this program, which runs quietly in the background to keep your computer and information safe.
Find out what security weaknesses your computer, website or network has with these tools.
- MBSA: MBSA, or Microsoft Baseline Security Adviser, can give you the tools you need to determine if your IT infrastructure is really secure. It can identify missing security updates and will give you suggestions for increasing your security.
- Nessus: Perhaps one of the best vulnerability scanners, this program explores and maps out your network for any potential weaknesses that could allow attackers into your systems.
- Nikto: This web server scanner will perform a variety of tests including searching for thousands of harmful files and version specific problems over hundreds of servers.
- Paros Proxy: Just developing a new web app? Use this program to determine how vulnerable it might be to attackers.
- HFNetChk: Use this program to identify and fix what security patches and updates you may be in need of to keep your computer safe.
- Tripwire: This open source program for Linux makes it easy to monitor changes to small or large servers and ensure they stay safe and secure.
These filters can help rid your inbox of potentially harmful spam.
- MailWasher: This program allows you to check your email on a secure server before downloading it to your PC to ensure you’re not bringing any harmful files in with your spam.
- xTerminator: xTerminator works similarly to MailWasher and allows users to pre-sort their email before it ever gets downloaded onto their computers.
- SPAMFighter: Keep your Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express inbox free from potentially dangerous spam by installing and using this program.
- CA Anti-Spam: Check out this professional grade spam blocker to protect from spam in your inbox as well as phishing attacks from websites.
- POPFile: Try out this program to have your mail sorted before it ever gets to your inbox.
- eXpurgate: This program from manufacturer eleven helps filter out all the junk that comes into your inbox.
- Spamato: Spamato is one of the best free spam filters out there and will keep nearly all of that annoying spam out of your inbox and in the garbage where it belongs.
- Spamhilator: Check out this spam filter for nearly flawless spam filtering capabilities.
- SpamPal: This free program allows users to filter their Outlook, Outlook Express and Eudora inboxes for spam.
- Cactus Spam Filter: Give this free program a try if you’re looking for an easy way to knock out the worst of the spam that gets into your inbox.
Make sure your private information stays that way by checking out these encryption utilities.
- GNU Privacy Guard: This GNU version of PGP uses a public key encryption system and is entirely free to use and modify.
- AxCrypt: AxCrypt allows you to encrypt your files with the AES encryption algorithm and supports large file sizes, shredding of files and great command line functionality for users who need greater control.
- dsCrypt: This easy-to-use program employs simple drag and drop features and allows users to quickly encrypt a variety of file types.
- TrueCrypt: This helpful program allows users to encrypt entire portions or smaller container parts of their hard drives which should help keep your information safe even if your computer security is compromised.
- Camouflage: Try out this program for file encryption that will allow you to hide your information in a picture, video or music file.
- FreeOTFE: This on-the-fly encryption program for Windows and Linux can help you create encrypted partitions on your desktop.
- CompuSec: If you’re looking to encrypt your entire hard disk try this program out. It can also encrypt memory sticks, disks and other removable storage devices.
- Scramdisk 4 Linux: Check out this Linux suite of tools that help you to create Scramdisk and TrueCrypt containers.
- Cryptainer: With this tool, you can create 25MB "containers" which will appear to Windows as separate encrypted disk drives or send encrypted emails.
- LockNote: Secure your documents using this program which provides help encrypting and decrypting information you want to stay private.
- File Buddy: File Buddy encrypts and decrypts your files as well as destroying the original plaintext versions. It can also be used to compress your encrypted files before you send them.
- CCrypt: More experienced computer users will find this command line tool helpful for encryption. It works on nearly all platforms and provides encryption to any files you specify.
- FineCrypt: This program allows you to encrypt a limited number of files (though certain types are not supported) and comes complete with a variety of other features as well.
- S-Tools: S-Tools is encryption software that comes with additional steganographic capabilities. You can encode files in BMP, GIF and WAV format so your secret information will stay safe.
- Pretty Good Privacy: With PGP you can encrypt your email client or just individual files and messages.
Secure Email and Chat
Keep your conversations away from prying eyes by trying out these email and chat programs designed to keep everything encrypted.
- Sbwave Email Encryption: Go on the Web to send and receive encrypted files and mail using this program. It is intended for information that needs light to moderate encryption and shouldn’t be used to send highly confidential information.
- Hushmail Email Encryption: This free webmail service encrypts your emails using 1024 bit encryption. Users can encrypt files as well, but there is a limit on the size of file that can be encrypted.
- PSST Easy Encrypted Instant Messaging: Ensure that your private conversations with friends stay that way with this helpful chat encryption utility that works in Windows and Linux.
- X-IM Free: Use this tool to encrypt the messages you send back and forth during chats.
- OTR Messaging: OTR, or Off the Record, Messaging provides encryption and authentication for online conversations ensuring private matters stay that way.
- WASTE: This file sharing and instant messaging software allows users to keep information for both personal and work projects confidential and away from prying eyes.
Ensure your connection isn’t being compromised by utilizing one of these tools.
- NetStumbler: Keep rogue wireless networks from harming your computer by checking out this tool. It looks for other wireless LAN networks in your area and can help you sniff out the bad guys. Especially helpful for business owners with lots of information to protect.
- Ethereal: This open source packet sniffer can help you to troubleshoot, analyze, and monitor all the activity on your network.
- Snort: Snort is a helpful intrusion detection and prevention system which makes it easy to detect and block a variety of attacks on your computer.
- ThreatFire: Check out this program for an additional layer of warning that malware may be trying to attack your computer.
- Blink Personal: This HIPS detector comes complete with a firewall which can help alert and protect you from a number of threats when you’re online.
- System Safety Monitor: With this program you’ll be able to track the loading of device drivers, installation of programs, modifications to the start menu and more to ensure your computer stays intruder free.
- Samurai: This program aims to harden your system from attacks and also provides HIP services which can warn you when unwanted programs are installing themselves.
- AntiHook: Use this program to monitor what programs are launching and running on your computer, the termination of your security software, and the installation of global hooks.
- ProcessGuard Free: To get features like protection from process termination, prevention of program modification, application execution and installation, try out this program.
- Winsonar: Get this program to detect when new and possibly unwanted programs have started running on your computer.
Firewalls can be a great defense against all kinds of threats, so check out these free options to protect your computer.
- Online Armor Free Edition: With this firewall, you’ll be able to detect leaks in your internet security within an easy to use and best of all, free, format. It contains built-in HIPS protection, keylogger detection, and fights malware attacks.
- Comodo Personal Firewall: This fully featured firewall offers users attractive benefits like an intrusion detection system and the ability to share connections with others. Users will find their incoming and outgoing internet traffic well protected with its services.
- PC Tools Firewall Plus: Check out this Windows-based firewall which offers a few advanced features to help you more fully filter what’s running on your computer and what’s going in and out.
- ZoneAlarm: With ZoneAlarm you can get some basic and free protection for your computer. Users can limit what programs can access the internet, and ensure all incoming and outgoing traffic is safe.
- Sunbelt Personal Firewall: Block harmful spyware, malware and adware with this monitoring program.
- Guarddog: Users of Linux will find this tool helpful. It allows the modification of an existing firewall so that users can block almost all traffic except those that are explicitly allowed.
- GhostWall: Try out this lightweight firewall to filter the traffic coming into your computer and ensure you stay protected from those who’d like to infiltrate your computer.
- Jetico Personal Firewall: This firewall has tested extremely well in protecting users from leaks, though some may feel that the interface is difficult to navigate.
- Firestarter: Make your Linux OS safe from intrusion by installing this firewall program. It walks users through a customization program and boasts an easy-to-use graphical interface that will let you monitor your traffic and any intrusion attempts.
- Softperfect Personal Firewall: Softperfect’s firewall is a great solution for Windows users, and comes with features that allow filtering of IP and non-IP traffic, multiple network configurations, and a learning mode.
- NetVeda Safety: This program offers users standard firewall features while also enabling application control and content filtering.
- Securepoint: This program can be an easy way for Windows users to protect against intrusions into their privacy, and best of all you won’t have to pay for it.
- Webroot Desktop Firewall: Designed to be easy-to-use for both techies and computer novices, this firewall provides traffic monitoring, PC concealment, and prevents attacks from trojans and other malware.
Surf the net in relative privacy by using one of these browsers or applications.
- JonDo: This program works with your existing web browser to anonymize any surfing you do by using proxy servers, and can keep your internet wanderings secret from just about anyone.
- Tor: Tor allows anonymous browsing and also emailing, file sharing, IMs, and IRC chat.
- XeroBank Browser: This program is a special version of Firefox that has Tor anonymization coding and can run directly from a USB drive.
- OperaTor: Fans of the browser Opera can take advantage of this program which combines that browser with Tor and allows it to be used on portable devices.
- Incognito: This basic program allows users to surf the net while maintaining their privacy and security of personal information.
- Proxify: With this program you’ll have secure anonymous surfing with features that erase cookies, scripts and ads and hides your user agent.
- Shadow Surf: Check out this site for free anonymous Web surfing capabilities.
- Anonymous Web Browser: If you’re in a need of a more covert browser, try this one on for size. It will erase your tracks and hide your user agent so no one will know where you have been.
- Guardster: Try this online service for some installation-free anonymous web browsing.
- @noymouse: Go through this site to browse the net anonymously. You’ll just have to enter a URL, and this site will fetch the information for you.
- StupidCensorship: Visit this site to find the help you need to keep your browsing private. It can also delete cookies and other information that can let others know where you’ve been.
Make sure your browser isn’t doing anything fishy with these tools.
- Sandboxie: This program creates a special contained "sandbox" for your PC so that as you browse your vital applications, hard drive and other computer essentials are protected from anything your browser might pick up.
- SafeSpace: SafeSpace ensures that your truly important information stays safe on your computer by creating a special space for internet browsing. The program is easy to use and boasts an attractive interface.
- Returnil Virtual System: If you’d like to take this protection one step further you can check out this program, which clones your entire system partition giving you a safe space to work in.
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