Need security for your computers but on a budget of $0? Free security software is available to assist with your dilemma. A few years ago acquiring free security software often carried a risk of picking up unwanted malware or an annoying every other second registered version offering. Luckily for you, the quality of free security software has risen dramatically and it no longer carries the stigma of being inferior products.
Top 5 Free Security Software Tools
1. Avast Free Antivirus – Previously, I was always skeptical of free anti-virus products and considered them a novelty. My Norton subscription for my new pc recently expired and I decided to give this software a legitimate chance since I had heard good things. I am very glad that I did this is a first rate freely available software package with signature updates that rival it’s subscription based rivals. If you are not already getting AV via your broadband provider be bold and save 30-50$ a year per machine by using Avast.
2. LastPass -Despite well publicized security events that happened awhile ago, LastPass is a first rate company that makes a high quality freely available password manager that should be in your free security tool arsenal. LastPass is a life saver for managing the essential process of creating unique user ids and passwords across the web to help minimize the risk of reusing accounts or passwords. LastPass also helps me save my brain cells and avoid wasted time of resetting forgotten passwords which is bound to happen to anyone creating unique passwords for each site. LastPass is more secure then using either browser saved credentials or managing your credentials via another unencrypted document like word or excel. To help minimize your risk of a LastPass credential compromise I recommend changing your master password every 90 days or if you receive a notice from the company about potential security issues (which hopefully was a one time occurrence).
3. TrueCrypt – Freely available encryption software for your computer or USB related drives and works on multiple OS’s including Windows, Mac, and various Linux distributions. Disk encryption is an essential security control to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands if your pc or portable storage device are lost or stolen. I have just recently started using this software but like what I see so far.
4. Qualys BrowserCheck – Your internet browser is one of the most attractive targets for attackers to infect your system so keeping your browser and installed browser plugins up to date is mandatory to maintain optimum system health. Qualys has developed a useful browser plugin that helps validate you are operating at a fully patched and protected level. Qualys is a trusted high end security company and they have made a valuable contribution to your free security tool bench.
5. Microsoft Security Essentials – Security vendors often advise not to run multiple malware/anti-virus packages at the same time due to incompatibilities. I have had no problems running MSE with either Norton (previously) or Avast so I will continue using the Microsoft Security Essentials package. I was uncomfortable relying on it as my sole protection but it is an excellent secondary control for the Avast package I am using as the primary. If you are looking for personal firewall protection I recommend the Microsoft supplied option as well.
I am actively using or have in the past used all of these free products so feel free to ask a question if you are having problems or provide other recommendations if you have other free security tools that are working well for you.