Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Essential Tools for Your Home Computer

For home computers I recommend these three free essential tools to protect against identity theft, malicious activity via the internet, and viruses. Make sure you read the help instructions before using!

Ad-aware is a free utility to combat "Spyware". Spyware is software that is secretly installed in your computer to gather information about you and relay it to others without your knowledge eg: advertisers or worse: hackers. SpyWare can get in your computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program. It is often installed without your explicit consent - sometimes as the result of clicking some option in a deceptive pop-up window. Frequent computer crashes, pop up windows and an unusually slow computer of Internet connection are indicators that your system might be infected. A free copy of Ad-aware software can be obtained at Lavasoft. Be aware that some ad-supported programs will no longer function if you remove their ad modules. Please read the help instructions before using!

ZoneAlarm is free software that blocks computers from connecting to your home computer through high speed (DSL/cable) Internet modems. It also protects your privacy by preventing software on your computer from accessing the Internet without your knowledge. ZoneAlarm can be obtained at Zonelabs. Please read the help instructions before using!

Housecall is a free anti-virus scanner. Running anti-virus software is crucial to keep your computer safe. Full featured virus scanners like McAfee and Norton Anti-Virus should be purchased and installed on every computer. However a free internet based virus scan is available at Housecall.

To summarize, utilizing these free tools together will protect the privacy of your data and keep your computer running smoothly.


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