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Computer Security: How Much Protection Do You Need?

Posted on May 10, 2011
Computer security should always be taken seriously. Cybercrime and identity theft are on the rise, so consumers need to be sure that they have the protection that they need. Here's what you really need to be safe online.

Computer security comes in many different forms, and with so many products vying for your money, it can be hard to decide which ones will really give you the protection you need. They will all make you some very convincing promises, but do you really need them all?

Antivirus Software Basics

The absolute minimum protection you need is a good antivirus program. Today, these typically include spyware and email protection, so this software will likely cover the majority of your security needs. Antivirus software will offer you protection from worms, Trojans, spyware, rootkits and more. They have real-time scanners that will monitor your computer all the time and alert you the second they find something suspicious. BitDefender, Kaspersky, and Webroot make some of the best antivirus products available today, and they are a great starting point if you looking for a reliable antivirus security solution.

Importance of Firewalls

Firewalls are another popular choice for those looking to beef up their computer security options. Firewalls filter all incoming and outgoing access to your computer. They only allow access to programs you can trust, protect you from hackers, and can usually be configured to be unobtrusive background applications. All Windows PCs come with built-in firewalls, and although that is better than no firewall at all, there are several commercial solutions that offer better protection and more flexibility. Many will monitor instant messaging programs, email, WiFi networks, and even include parental controls to restrict and protect family members.

Protecting Against Identity Theft

The recent surge in identity thefts has led to a new wave of software designed to protect personal data and online habits. Browsing the Internet leaves behind evidence that shows which sites you were on, cookies that include usernames and passwords, and records of the files you download.

Privacy software can wipe these traces from your computer like they were never there. They often include the ability to securely delete, or shred, personal files that you no longer need so that they can never be recovered from your hard drive. If you work from home, or do a lot of online banking and shopping, then privacy software is something you should definitely look into.

All-In-One Solutions Make It Easier

However, if you are looking for the ultimate computer security solution, you really need a combination of all the services above. All-in-one security suites are among the more expensive security solutions, but they provide some of the highest levels of protection. Individual security products do not always play well with each other, especially if they are from different manufacturers, but you can bypass this problem with an Internet security suite.

By combining an antivirus program with a firewall and some privacy software, you can access all your protection needs in one place. While security suites may not have all the features and flexibility of three individual programs, they offer the majority of users more security than they may ever need. These bundled products are safe, convenient and will save you money.

The Bottom Line

So, how much protection do you need? Well, you need as much as you can get. Responsible computer users are aware of the risks involved with being online, and they act to protect their interests accordingly. Complacency can be dangerous, and no one wants to be a cautionary tale. Investing in a worthwhile computer security package could easily be one of the best investments you ever make.

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