There are numerous free online security tools that a regular user can avail himself of. The term can refer to web-based services that offer basic security applications such as scanning, or it could include free downloadable security software such as anti-virus. The following is a short discussion on how to utilize these cost-saving technologies.
1. Download and install anti-malware and anti-spyware.
These free software products have basic features, but they are effective enough that consumers are usually enticed to take on the paid upgrade. Each of these security tools protects your computer against specific types of threats. These threats can be malware, which are programs designed to wreck your system (that includes viruses) or spyware, which are programs designed to steal data from your system. It is safer to download these products directly from the developer's website. Choose the latest versions, as they're the ones with the least bugs and the most features. Keep in mind to download the version that is meant for the kind of operating system you're using to ensure compatibility. You might need to download and utilize a combination of these products, as some are better at countering particular types of threats than others. Installation is typically simple, as there are windows that will appear to guide you through the procedure step-by-step. Once installed, configure these applications in such a way that their monitoring and shielding functions are constantly activated. Also, keep their automatic updating function active. Anti-virus programs, for example, need to constantly update their ability to recognize virus programs, as newer and deadlier viruses are always cropping up.
2. Utilize online scanners.
Major security applications developers have quite expensive products, but they sometimes offer free web-based services on their sites. These services usually come in the form of scanning your system for any dangerous programs. Even with an anti-virus program installed, using these services would still be a good idea. It would be naïve to expect one security program to handle all kinds of threats. Their sites also offer tips and guides that inform users how to handle invasive, malicious programs and clean up their systems.
3. Download and install utilities software.
These types of software don't fight threats directly but instead help monitor your system for any weaknesses. 'Nmap' for example is a utility that maps out your network and audits your system's security. One of its functions is to determine which type of packet filters and firewalls are in place. Another example is Microsoft's Sysinternals Security Utilities, which is actually a group of tools that among other things can determine who has access to files, Registry keys and other sensitive data in your computer.
Security should be everyone's concern, even for regular home users. Transactions nowadays are practically paperless, and a lot of sensitive information is kept in personal computers and transferred through networks that can be prone to disturbance and incursion by ill-intentioned groups or individuals. A prudent user would take advantage of online security tools that are free and available on the Internet.