As soon as you introduce your computer to an
external data source (Floppy, CD, Internet, bluetooth etc), you are at risk of
allowing nasty things to crawl into it. Some of these nasties are worse than
others but all of them are generally unwanted vistors on your machine. Some can
destroy files (these are viruses) while others simply track your Internet usage
and feed data back to their owners (this is Spyware). Worryingly, all of this
can infest your machine without you knowing about it and too much spyware can
slow your web browsing down to a snails pace. There
are things you can do to prevent things from fouling up your PC. You could
Firewall - this is essential if you are permanently
connected to another system - such as the Internet - via Broadband. Firewalls
allow you to control the flow of data between external systems - helping you
stop hackers from accessing your computer. Another piece of essential software
is a Virus Checker, which cleans files on your PC for
Viruses and if your on the web a lot, we suggest you also
get a Spyware removal tool, and use it often.
how much is it gonna cost - answer NOTHING - here's the links you need
Avast Antivirus is a superb FREE virus protection program with full support and updates. With many of the features of commercial rivals and more unusually, a very street-cred stylist and skinnable user interface - look no further
Advanced SystemCare is a free all-in-one system cleaner from system specialists IOBit. It has a very clean interface and is able to deal with Spyware, Registry Issues, Activity Traces and Junk files. It optimises your systems speed.
GRC is the home of Gibson Research. Over the years Steve Gibson has developed some brilliant tools, mainly aimed at the more technical amongst us. SpinRite is the industry number one disk recovery system, but Shields Up is well worth checking out. It detects leaks in your systems firewall in seconds.
Syncplicity provides 2 Gigabytes of free online storage, more with subscription options. You can easily synchronise files between computers, share files with others, of simply just use it as a backup medium. As of Sep 2009, it os one of the leading synchronisation tools.
Originally released in 1994, Netnanny is probably the most highly regarded parental control software available. As of Sep 2009 it's about £20 but it is worth every penny to ensure your children are safe from porn, race-hate and even instant messaging. It's all controlled using a simple interface.
Defender is Microsofts official spyware protection product and it claims to block new incoming spyware and remove existing spyware in one package. The interface is very XP-esque so you should feel at home with it
CoolWebSearch is a common piece of spyware which hijacks your Internet start page and causes other nasty things to happen. It can prove difficult to remove but Trend Micros CWShredder will do the job quite nicely for free
Crap Cleaner does what it says on the tin. It cleans all the temporary junk, cached and history files from your PC. Hiding your Internet trails, freeing up disk space and optimising performance. It's fast and it's free
Spyware Blaster is an essential browser plugin which stops spyware, diallers and other beasties from being installed on your PC in the first place. A perfect companiion to Adaware, Spybot or MS Antispyware