Our computers help us stay connected to the world. We use them for banking , shopping, work, connecting with friends and family through email and social sites, surfing the internet, and much more. We rely so heavily on our computers to provide these services that we sometimes overlook their security. Because our computers have such critical roles in our lives and we trust them with so much personal information, it’s important to improve their security so we can continue to rely on them and keep our information safe.
Attackers can infect your computer with malicious software, or malware, in many different ways. They can take advantage of unsafe user practices and flaws in your computer’s programs (flaws including vulnerabilities and unsecured services and features) and use social engineering (in which an attacker convinces someone to perform an action such as opening a malicious email attachment or following a malicious link). Once your computer is infected, intruders can use the malware to access your computer without your knowledge to perform unwanted actions. They can steal your personal information, change computer configurations, cause your computer to perform unreliably, and install even more malware they can use to leverage attacks or spread malware to others.
The following are links to free essential security programs which we recommend to download and use on your computers :
AVG AntiVirus Free 2013
Free Antivirus AVG 2013 is the best virus and anti-spyware protection available forfree. AVG is world's most trusted free antivirus software.
The Malwarebytes Free edition offers users the option of installing a trial version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro. Malwarebytes' primary feature is to scan your computer for the bad guys, and on that level it's quite successful. It offers a quick scan, a full scan, and a flash scan to analyze memory and autorun objects. It comes with Malwarebytes' proprietary Chameleon technology, which lets the program install on many infected computers even when the malware blocks other detection tools.
Spybot Search & Destroy is a free antispyware utility that targets adware, malicious code, and other threats. It also cleans security tracks, shreds files, and tweaks the Registry. The optional TeaTimer feature protects the Registry from real-time attacks. Spybot isn't a replacement for a full antivirus program, though it does detect and remove some threats. It's a constantly updated, on-demand adware and malware scanner you can run regularly to sweep your system. Spybot S&D is free for personal use.
Nowadays, cookies, temporary files, and various other means of tracking your Web footprint are par for the course. Some of these trackers are useful, while others can be potentially intrusive. Thankfully, there are myriad freeware cleaners out there that help keep your system in check. CCleaner is one of the better ones for its ease of use and powerful cleaning capabilities.
System Mechanic Free from Iolo Systems is a stripped-down version of much more comprehensive premium tool. However, it offers good basic cleaning and optimizing for Windows systems with seven primary tools: PC Cleanup, Registry Tuner, Startup Optimizer, Memory Mechanic, Drive Accelerator, Shortcut Repair, and Internet Connection Repair. It can back up and save Registry settings and Undo changes with its SafetyNet feature.
When you install System Mechanic, you have the option to install the full or free version; chose the freeware but you still have to provide your e-mail address to receive an activation key for the free version.