The Wild West
-- A personal computer connected to the Internet without a firewall can be hijacked in just a few minutes. The only way to make it 100% secure is to turn it off or disconnect it from the Internet. The real issue is how to make your computer 99.9% secure when it is connected.
* Bottom Line -- At minimum, any computer connected to the Internet needs to have all security patches installed as well as personal firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Also, take the time to Tighten Windows to make it more secure.
* Firewalls -- Before connecting a computer to the Internet, make sure that it has hardware and/or software firewalls installed. For links to and reviews of over fifty personal firewall software products, see our Firewall page. For hardware firewalls, see our Wired and Wireless router pages.
* Anti-Virus -- Use a two step defense for viruses. First, install anti-virus software on your computer; see our Anti-Virus Guide for more information. Second, use online (server side) virus and spam filters for your email through an Internet Service Provider and/or an Email Service.
* Anti-Spyware -- See our Anti-Spyware Guide for the best free and retail products as well as background articles and comparative reviews.
* Other Malware -- See our Anti-Trojan, Anti-Spam, Anti-Phishing, and Privacy software pages for background information, reviews and product links.
* More Options -- Consider an Internet Security Software Suite or Broadband Gateway (hardware with security software). These options are especially helpful if you have kids and two or more home computers.
* Freeware -- There is good Internet security freeware available to help you deal with many needs. See our Freeware page for personal firewalls, ad blocker, anti-EULA, anti-phishing, anti-spam, anti-spyware, anti-trojan, anti-virus, online backup, browsers, email, encryption, IM, intrusion prevention, password managers, privacy cleaners, security testing services, and wireless hot spot protection.
* News, Alerts & Reviews -- See our Internet Security News page. It is updated daily.
* Important Tips -- Never use two personal firewall or two anti-virus software products at the same time. Fully uninstall one before installing another to prevent compatibility problems.