Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10 Free Security Tools That Actually Work

Security isn't free, right?

Well, in some cases it is. You can get everything from anti-virus to a firewall for less than a penny. In a pinch, it's a nice option to have.

Much like we did with free cloud storage services, here are the 10 free security tools that you can download now that actually work and will help keep you, your data and your machine free from attack.

Avast Software is among the leading free anti-virus and anti-spyware tools out there. With more than 173 million registrations and counting, Avast promises dependable and fast anti-virus and anti-spyware, strong enough for normal Web use. Avast also boasts a small footprint and claims that it can outperform some competitors' paid anti-virus suites.

Malwarebytes is the go-to free security tool. We even know of a few IT departments that recommend it (though they probably won't admit that publicly). The free anti-malware tool is quick and rarely throws out false positives. It scans all files and drives and once infected files are identified enables users to remove them. There's a paid version with added protection, but if a quick scan and malware removal is all you're after and you're short on cash, it's a nice tool to have.

AVG Free can keep most Web users secure, provided they stick to surfing, searching and social networking. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 was just released to keep PCs safe and sound.

Comodo offers prevention-based PC security via its free firewall offering, which the company says features Auto Sandbox Technology, defends PCs from Internet attacks and prevents malware from being installed.

BitDefender's Free Edition of anti-virus software acts as an on-demand virus scanner for system recovery and forensics. The free version uses the same ICSA Labs-certified scanning engines used by other BitDefender products to deliver basic protection for no cost. With the free edition of BitDefender, users get virus scanning and removal, scheduled scanning, immediate scanning, quarantine and reports.

ClamWin is a free, open-source anti-virus play for Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, XP, Me, 2000 and Windows Server 2003 and 2008. In use by more than 600,000 users globally, ClamWin offers users high detection rates for viruses and spyware, a scanning scheduler, automatic downloads of an updated virus database, a standalone scanner with right-click menu integration into Explorer and a Microsoft Outlook add-in to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.

ESET offers a free Online Scanner offering that detects and removes PC threats. The online scan uses only a browser and uses ESET's ThreatSense engine to sniff out and snuff threats. According to ESET, it offers one-click installation and activation and is always up to date with the latest threat signatures and algorithms from ESET's Threat Labs. It can detect known and unknown forms of malware, including viruses, works, Trojans, phishing and spyware. And all infected files are moved to a quarantine where they can be restored or removed permanently.

Rising offers a host of free security utilities including Rising Free Antivirus, Rising Free Firewall, Rising PC Doctor, Rising Free Online Scanner and Rising Mobile Security. The Antivirus Free Edition protects against viruses, Trojans, worms, rootkits and other types of malicious programs and malware and uses what Rising calls "Active Defense" technology and its patented "Unknown Virus Scan and Clean" and "Smartupdate" technologies.

PC Tools
PC Tools AntiVirus Free protects against basic cyberthreats with anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. The PC Tools free offering leverages Smart Updates and File Guard to protect a C and provide real-time protection, while E-mail Guard protects from malware that could e sent over e-mail. Made by the same folks that created Spyware Doctor, PC Tools AntiVirus Free gives users IntelliGuard real-time virus scan and removal to thwart viruses, worms, Trojans and more.

Ad-Aware Free Internet Security kicks free malware protection up a notch while promising not to slow things down. With real-time protection, Genocode detection technology, rootkit protection, automatic updates and more, Ad-Aware offers a full featured security suite for free. The offering vows to keep users safe from password stealers, keyloggers and online fraudsters while also leveraging behavior-based detection to find suspicious files and threats before they become a problem.

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