Free Tools for Securing Your Network and PC

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Internet / Network Security
Free Tools for Securing Your Network and PC
By Andy O'Donnell

Most everyone I know, myself included, is on a very restricted budget these days, due to the state of the economy. Paying for computer and network security tools isn't usually on the top of anyone's list of things they want to spend their money on. In this week's featured article: The Cheapskate's Guide to Home Network and PC Security 1, we'll look at some of the best free security tools available in the antivirus, firewall, anti-malware, and cloud-based backup categories. Check out the article and let us know in the comments section below if there is a free security tool that you like to use that we neglected to mention in the article.

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Links in this article: 1. http://netsecurity.about.com/od/antivirusandmalware/fl/The-Cheapskates-Guide-to-Home-Network-and-PC-Security.htm 2. http://netsecurity.about.com/b/ 3. http://netsecurity.about.com/gi/pages/shareurl.htm?PG=http%3a%2f %2fnetsecurity%2eabout%2ecom%2fb%2f2013%2f10%2f12%2ffree%2dtools%2dfor%2dsecuring%2dyour%2dnetwork%2dand%2dpc%2ehtm& zItl=Free%20Tools%20for%20Securing%20Your%20Network%20and%20PC 4. http://netsecurity.about.com/b/2013/09/29/what-to-do-if-your-facebook-account-has-been-hacked.htm 5. http://netsecurity.about.com/b/2013/10/14/how-to-backup-your-data-to-the-cloud-for-free.htm

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22/10/2013 10:03 AM

The Cheapskate's Guide to Home Network and PC Security

http://netsecurity.about.com/od/antivirusandmalware/fl/The-Cheapska...

Internet / Network Security
The Cheapskate's Guide to Home Network and PC Security
Peace of mind for penny pinchers
By Andy O'Donnell

Everyone understands the need for network security. No one wants to fall victim to malware, phishing attacks, or have their computer enslaved as part of a bot net, but times are tough, and budgets are tight. Some people see security as a luxury, when in reality, it is a necessity, but that doesn't mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. In this article, we're going to show you some free, or very inexpensive, tools that you can use to secure your home PC and network. Antivirus on The Cheap (or free) Any good defense-in-depth strategy 1 features multiple layers of defense to help keep hackers and other intruders out of your system. One of the primary layers of defense (and all too often, the only layer) is your primary antivirus scanner. Finding a solid antivirus / anti-malware solution is critical. There are some excellent free antivirus solutions that are available. Some of the more widely known and respected ones are AVG Antivirus Free 2, and Ad Aware Free Antivirus3. These two solutions offer some forms of active protection that other "free" antivirus vendors charge for. Additionally, for Windows users, Microsoft offers it's Security Essentials4 anti-malware solution for free. For the latest hard-hitting reviews on both free and paid antivirus software, check out About.com's Antivirus5 site for in-depth information. If you're pretty sure you already have malware on your computer and you want to scan and remove it, one of the best anti-malware diagnosis and removal tools I've encountered is MalwareBytes6. Their scan-and-clean-type solution is free, however, if you want real-time active protection, you'll need to pay for an upgrade. Free Firewall Protection: You might have a powerful hardware-based firewall sitting right inside your home Internet router and you might not even have it turned on. Most home Internet routers feature a built-in Firewall, but it is often disabled by default. Consider enabling this feature on your router. See your router manufacturer's website for details on how to enable your router's built-in firewall (if it has one). While Microsoft Windows offers an ample built-in Windows Firewall, you may want to check out the robust ZoneAlarm Free Firewall7 from Zonelabs. ZoneAlarm has been around for a very long time and is consistently chosen as one of the best free firewall solutions available. Other free firewall options include Comodo Firewall8 and TinyWall9. For more firewall-related information check out these articles: Do I Need a Firewall?10 How to Test Your Firewall11 Beef up Your Security and Speed with Free Alternative DNS Your router and or computer is probably pointed to an ISP-provided DNS server. This may not be the ideal solution for security or performance purposes. Consider pointing to a free and open alternative DNS provider for a possible improvement in your overall security and possibly even a browser speed boost. Why might pointing to an alternative DNS server improve security? The answer is that some of the alternative DNS providers offer the ability to filter out known malware and phishing sites, and may also prevent DNS cache poisoning attacks. Some providers such as Norton ConnectSafe 12 can even filter out "non-family friendly" content such as porn sites. Changing to another DNS provider is a simple task. Check out our article: Improve Your Security With Alternative DNS13 for in-depth information on why you might want to switch and how to make the switch to another provider (for free). Backup Your Critical Files to Free Cloud-based Storage The important "stuff" on your computer is usually your documents, pictures, and other personal data. Losing this information is not an option for most of us. I know that I would be beaten like a rented mule by my wife if I lost even one single baby picture in our vast multi-gigabyte photo library. I'm sure you have a local backup strategy already in place to protect this information, but you should consider having an offsite cloud-based backup solution as well so that you don't have all your eggs in one basket. Free cloud-based storage providers such as SkyDrive 14, DropBox15 , SugarSync16 and others offer plenty of free storage for documents and room for a
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22/10/2013 10:04 AM

The Cheapskate's Guide to Home Network and PC Security

http://netsecurity.about.com/od/antivirusandmalware/fl/The-Cheapska...

modest photo library as well. If you have a larger photo library, you may want to consider backing it up to multiple services. The main caveat when it comes to cloud storage is that there is always a potential that your chosen provider may go out of business and you might lose your data, but if you are backing up locally as well, then hopefully, you'll have a backup on disk, if not, get ready for many nights sleeping on the couch.

This About.com page has been optimized for print. To view this page in its original form, please visit: http://netsecurity.about.com/od/antivirusandmalware/fl/The-Cheapskates-Guideto-Home-Network-and-PC-Security.htm ©2013 About.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

Links in this article: 1. http://netsecurity.about.com/od/toolsutilities/a/Protect-Your-Home-Pc-With-A-Defense-In-Depth-Strategy.htm 2. http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage 3. http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php 4. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download 5. http://antivirus.about.com/ 6. http://www.malwarebytes.org/ 7. http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-pc-security-free-firewall.htm 8. http://personalfirewall.comodo.com/ 9. http://tinywall.pados.hu/ 10. http://netsecurity.about.com/od/firewalls/a/Do-I-Need-A-Firewall.htm 11. http://netsecurity.about.com/od/vulnerabilityscanners/a/How-To-Test-Your-Firewall.htm 12. https://dns.norton.com/dnsweb/homePage.do 13. http://netsecurity.about.com/od/antivirusandmalware/a/Improve-Web-Browsing-Security-And-Speed-By-Using-Alternative-Dns-Servers.htm 14. https://skydrive.live.com/%E2%80%8E 15. https://www.dropbox.com/ 16. https://www.sugarsync.com/

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22/10/2013 10:04 AM

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