10 Security Related Tools to Have on Your Computer

Hola, Christina here! Jeff provided me with a blog-post on security related software which he has on his computer. VERY informative. He  asked that I edit and and get it up on the website.  We collaborated, this is what we came up with, so ENJOY!!!!!!!!

Round-kicks and karate chops! My associate Christina purchased a computer recently. (Christina speaking right meow: “my new computer rocks!”). Jeff again. So, here’s the story: I’ve harped on Christina plenty to practice the principle of least privilege (i.e., not logging into a computer with administrator rights unless you must perform…ahem…administrative tasks), AND I ALSO gave her a list of software tools to install on her computer. So, yeah, not to brag but, I’ve been doing this cybersecurity deal for a long time so, my personal computer probably runs substantially more cybersecurity tools than what the typical normal home computer does. Just sayin’. And, that being said, I’m gonna go ahead and share a set of cybersecurity tools with all of you that I shared with Christina; I highly recommend that they be installed on all personal computers.

So remember when the economy did that thing and went diving? Not cool, right? Agreed. So let’s all be frugal and save a buck! Not a deer, a dollar! Fun, right?!? Ready? Set? We go! A few of these tools that I’m recommending have free versions that provide sufficient function to accomplish wanted tasks at hand. These tools also have more advanced versions for a cost, but I mostly use the free versions based on the functionality that they provide. Remember the dive, and remember the buck; let’s just stick together and save some moo-lah. MORE KARATE CHOPS!!!!!!

  1. The first software tool recommend to anyone with a PC is anti-virus software. What’s that? Anti-virus software protects computers from malware.  The internet security software on my own home computer includes Virus, Spyware Protection, Web, Email Protection, and automatic updates. The reason I choose the internet security software that I choose is based mostly on the fact that I get it for free with my company; their need to be cybersecure is 100% paramount, so I absolutely trust the software they provide and feel great about recommending it to others. That said, I highly recommend running antivirus software on all personal computers and keeping it updated. In fact, speaking of Christina’s new computer, it runs Window’s 8, and what they did was build in an antivirus and security feature, which are both sufficient for most people. Microsoft Security Essentials can be downloaded for earlier versions of Windows to get the same protection. Also, you can use a couple of solid fee options, including Avast and AVG.
  1. I downloaded the Belarc Advisor – Free Personal PC Audit for my computer and built a profile of my installed software and hardware, network inventory, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, and security benchmarks (Christina butting in again: this is an amazing piece of advice and could be a life-saver; Jeff is a smart guy!). I copy this information into a word document and save it on an external hard drive so I know what hardware/software I have installed and the respective license codes in case I ever need to reload all of my software into a base image.
  1. I downloaded and run the free version of Spybot Search and Destroy software. Why? Good Q. Because there are several different licenses offered by their free versions, and they scan for and fix Malware and Rootkits. Plus, they have advanced startup tools for those that are more technically inclined. They also provide immunizations for your system(s) by pro-actively blocking access to sites known to contain malicious or unwanted software, blocking cookies that exist solely for tracking purposes, and blocking plugins that are malware or similar.
  1. I downloaded and ran a free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware; this tool is similar to Spybot because it has advanced Malware detection and removes viruses, worms, Trojans, Rootkits, Dialers, Spyware, and also has industry proven clean-up technologies which can eradicate existing Malware infections (if you didn’t understand some of the jargon, just Google it! This is Christina and….embarrassingly….I had to do so. We learn by researching, so go for it!). Similar to Spybot, Malwarebytes offers different versions of their software, including paid versions which provide additional functionality, but the free version does have some decent capability that all home users can…wait for it…use.
  1. I run Acronis 2015 to back up my files as well as to create a backup of the partitions of my computer so that, if my computer crashes, it will be with minimal damage; read my last blog post which shows how Acronis was able to help me recover from my last computer crash. There are many hardware and software alternatives for backing up your data including USB flash drives and external hard drives (hardware), as well as archiving and disk imaging programs (software). Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. For a simple solution, important files can be saved to an encrypted USB flash drive. It’s a good idea to keep your backup media in a locked and secure location. ESET, which provides antivirus and security solutions, provides a good white paper on the different options for backup, and is a good read.
  1. I have a file shredder software program on my computer which allows me to remove files from my hard drive without the fear that they could be recovered. (Hi Christina again! That is so cool!) The file shredder program I use is free and is located at www.fileshredder.org. It rewrites files with random series of binary pieces of data multiple times so that files are unrecoverable with the many software tools available today for retrieval of deleted files under Windows OS.
  1. There is a tool called VirusTotal Windows Uploader which allows a user to scan a file more than 50 antivirus tools at once. So, if you suspect you might have downloaded something fishy, this is a splendid tool; really, nobody likes an unsure file.
  1. During the course of installing certain software from the internet, even I have accidentally forgotten to uncheck the box on packaged Adware content. In turn, this has inadvertently installed some crazy 3rd party Adware programs onto my computer. Now that I know better,I’ve downloaded a software program called AdwCleaner, which allows you to remove those annoying tool-bars on your system that you may have  accidentally installed (and which won’t seem to go away).
  1. I run a program call CCleaner, a tool for cleaning your PC and protecting your privacy. It makes your computer faster and more secure and provides one click cleaning so beginners can optimize their computers in seconds.
  1. Although I don’t use this program personally, as I have other techniques to maintain my passwords, there is a program called Lastpass which helps users manage their passwords across all platforms; it helps them to store their passwords in the cloud securely so they are able to access them anywhere. This program is great because it manages strong complex passwords that are usually hard to remember. In turn, this helps to resolve the problem of home users using weak passwords that compromise their security.

 

 

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Christina Myers
 

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