Since I first wrote an article on the ten best free security applications, a number of new programs have been released that I have had the opportunity to test. Some applications such as Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic, Spyware Terminator, and several others have replaced previous recommendations; so this updated list.
avast! 4 Home Edition
This anti-virus application is a winner, scanning files on demand and on access, including email attachments. It alerts you when it detects mal-ware through its real-time shield function. An important feature is a boot-time scan option which removes mal-ware that can’t be removed any other way.
Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic
This anti-virus program offers comprehensive protection with an easy to use interface. In the three months I have been testing Avira I have been impressed with its performance, and I have come to rely on it as my primary anti-virus program. I highly recommend this one.
Spyware Doctor Starter Edition
Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week. Be aware however, there is no real-time protection offered with this version and this is the reason I recommend this application as a secondary scanner only.
Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the last year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. In my view this is the definitive free anti-spyware application.
Having used this application for years the latest release does not disappoint. Ad-Aware 2007 Free remains the best free spyware and adware remover available. It does a relatively good job of protecting against known Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components. The only downside with the free version is real-time protection is not included.
ThreatFire 3 excels at blocking mal-ware including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. In fact, since I installed this application 6 months ago I have not had to deal with any security breaches.
The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 6 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!
The free version of ZoneAlarm lacks the features of ZoneAlarm Pro’s firewall. Its program control asks you regularly whether to allow programs; for some this can get to be intrusive and annoying. But it’s been around forever it seems, and it can’t be shut down, or out, by mal-ware.
Do you want to get a better understanding of what programs are being added to your computer? Then WinPatrol is the program for you. With WinPatrol, in your system tray, you can monitor system areas that are often changed by malicious programs. You can monitor your startup programs and services, cookies and current tasks. Should you need to, WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs. There are additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security applications.
SnoopFree Privacy Shield
SnoopFree Privacy Shield is a powerful application that guards your keyboard, screen and open windows from all spy software. I have been using this application for quite some time, and I have been amazed at the number of programs that have requested access to my keyboard and screen. In particular, programs that I am in the process of installing. If you’re serious about privacy, this is a must have addition to your security toolbox.