10 Apps To Improve Your Computer Security

“So what are the best web based apps for your computer? Read on for the top ten.”

[Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

If you’re using a PC, laptop or any form of internet connected device without any security protection then you’re running a huge risk. Luckily, the market is now loaded with apps to keep you safe—but the huge array of choices can sometimes lead to confusion.

So what are the best web based apps for your computer? Read on for the top ten.

1. AVG Free Anti-Virus

>From experience, when you buy a new PC at one of the popular retail stores, they don’t have too many good things to say about AVG. However, in independent testing, PC Mag marks this package as the best free anti-virus software money can’t buy.

Regularly updated, the 2013 version is said to be tricky to install, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the most effective piece of free software out there. Other pluses: it’s is backed up by impressive support from the AVG team, and ongoing malware protection is also provided in your free download.

2. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.70

AVG is great for continual virus protection, but if you have entrenched malware, then you may find that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.70 is more effective at rooting out those difficult-to-shift files. Don’t worry about running the two side by side, as once again, the entry level package for this software is completely free.

Independent tests recommend this for deleting worms, Trojans, root kits, rogues, spyware and diallers. There is also a paid pro version for ongoing protection, which comes with a 14-day free trial.

3. Norton Internet Security

UK consumer association Which? offers a useful guide to the benefits of paid versus free antivirus software, and reading it could help you make a decision about which is right for you.

Going back to the Stone Age days of the internet—about 2003—Norton was virtually the sole piece of antivirus software you’d find bundled with your new computer. There are multiple alternatives now but Norton still scores highly in tests and Which? agrees that it is effective.

Better still, Norton promises to have increased bandwidth management, so that it doesn’t slow down your equipment as it undoubtedly did in the past.

4. Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013

Webroot may not have a name as recognisable as Norton’s, but at prices starting around $65.00, they seem to think their product is worth a lot. The company’s promise is quite simple—it looks to provide the fastest and most effective all-around security package available.  So far, reviews have been mixed.

People do agree that it’s very fast and easy to install. It will certainly improve your security, but a free system such as that from AVG might be equally effective in the short term.

5. Dropbox

Every PC user needs a sound back-up system in place should the worst happen. That’s just one of the aspects offered by the versatile Dropbox package. Essentially, this service allows you to store files, photos and vital documents on your system without taking up important storage space on your PC

It’s free and simple to install, and you can access your folder from anywhere with an internet connection with just the click of a mouse, so you could easily use Dropbox to back up your vital files— and recover them if your computer were to crash irretrievably.

6. ShadowProtect Back up Software

Dropbox is so comprehensive that many paid-for back up programs are struggling in the face of free and effective competition. However, advanced PC users have been recommending ShadowProtect as one of the best systems around, even if it can be a little pricey.

There are various levels of protection provided by the software, and your choice could depend on the size of your operation. For large business users, this may be the best choice for wider, all-around protection.

7. Microsoft Backup and Restore

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of installing additional software, there’s likely an option for you, too, depending on your package. For example, Windows 7 has its own backup and restore program and some industry reviewers, who went in with preconceived ideas of its capabilities, have been converted after using the native software.

Follow the detailed instructions and this software will back up files automatically, saving those that have been changed or created since the last back up. It doesn’t even need installation, and once again, it’s completely free!

8. Spywareblaster

Rather than take a package that covers viruses, malware, and spyware, some users prefer to seek out the most effective program for each issue and install accordingly. As far as spyware is concerned, many look to Spywareblaster.

Simply by browsing a compromised webpage, your PC could become the new host of all manner of annoying spyware, adware, diallers and other threats. This free download aims to deal with them.

Spywareblaster is dedicated to prevention, and while it is effective at what it does, you may need another program for existing issues.

9. Comodo Firewall

This free firewall software is another award winner according to PC Mag and a few other authorities, and securing this download will certainly improve on the standard firewall system offered by Microsoft.

The program checks around two million known PC-friendly applications and alerts, and will effectively block viruses, hackers, Trojans, worms and other threats with a quick and easy download.

10. Outpost Firewall Pro 8

PC Mag is an authority when it comes to trusted reviews, and if you’re looking for a paid firewall program, they’re big fans of the latest version of Outpost. Once again, there is a paid version, for a shade under 30 bucks.

You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it to upgrade from the free option, but the pluses for purchasing the full version of Outpost Firewall 8 include an ability to block disabling by malware programs—something other, similar pieces of software don’t offer.

Kevin Raposo is a blogger for SimpliSafe Security Systems.  Kevin covers issues related to tech, security, crime and safety.  When he’s not blogging, he’s usually taking things apart and figuring how to assemble them back, sometimes not always successful. 

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