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Have a safe 2011 (with some free PC security software)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Jan-2011 19:22

I've decided to compile a list of free anti-malware software you can use now on your PC, to have a safer 2011... Let's check the list (non-spammy suggestions welcome in the comments):


Windows Firewall: it's there, in Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008. Quite flexible, and it's free.

Web Protection Add-on: as the name says it's not a firewall replacement, but another tool that will look at patterns on outgoing web requests, to find out if there's a risk of your PC being used as part of a botnet.


Microsoft Security Essentials: free malware protection for Windows-based PCs, very light. Version 2 comes with network protection that integrates with Windows Firewall. The new version also allows users to set a CPU utilisation limit. The very simple UI hides a good product. Recommended.

Avast: I've used Avast for years on my Windows PCs, until Microsoft Security Essentials came along. Good software, but overkill in some of the features.

PC Tools Antivirus Free: free antivirus for Windows-based PCs, from PC Tools.

AVG Free: a free version of AVG, offering basic protection (shameless plug for full version: we have a 10% discount available for AVG Internet Security).

HouseCall: non-active antivirus scan. You download the program, and run it, without installation. I use it on my servers and sometimes on my PCs, just to be sure there isn't anything the other security features didn't pick up.

RookitBuster:  as the name says, it scans for rootkits: hidden files, registry entries, processes, drivers and MBR.

Sophos Antivirus for Mac: as the name says, a free antimalware tool for Mac OS-based PCs. It also scans a Mac for Windows malware.

iAntivirus: a free antivirus tool for Mac OS-based PCs, from PC Tools. It scans only for Mac OS malware. The picture in this blog post is from their site - PC Tools, if you have a problem with this please let me know.

ThreatFire: An additional layer of protection targeting zero day vulnerabilities yet to be covered by standard scan-based anti-virus. Also from PC Tools.


Norton SafeWeb for Facebook: this Facebook app will scan links in your wall and alert you if any link to a suspicious website is found.


Windows Live Family Safety: configure your PC to monitor what your kids are doing online: activity reports, manage access to websites, games and programs. Even set time periods when they can use the computer.

Norton Online Family: this is a tool for parents, to set house-rules and keep an eye on their children's online behaviour, as well as educate their kids on internet safety. The service can block objectionable content, give parents insight into search terms their kids use and help them learn more about how their children represent themselves on social networking sites.


eMail ID: will add a checkmark to webmail clients and Outlook Express to show emails come from the companies they claim to be coming from.


DNS solutions will work by blocking your PC access to a website by returning an address that will redirect your browser to a safe page instead. Note that DNS solutions may affect the ability of using your ISP's local cache and in some cases can cause sites using Content Distribution Networks to be very slow or not load at all. This includes sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes.

OpenDNS: you can register your home network on OpenDNS and automatically block certain types of contents, as configured by you.

Internet Guide: similar to OpenDNS, provided by DynDNS.

Norton DNS: it leverages Norton SafeWeb database to block unsafe websites. Does not have custom category blocking, but it's easier to setup.


Norton Safe Web: a free downloadable tool that identifies risky sites before users click on them in search results. It shows up as a small toolbar within either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. The free toolbar is powered by Norton Safe Web site-rating technology, the same one included in Norton Internet Security and Norton 360.

CWShredder:  remove traces of a wide range of browser hijackers.

Browser Guard 2010: Proactively protect your browser against new Web Threats. Browser Guard 2010 has zero-day vulnerability prevention and protects against malicious JavaScript.

BrowserDefender: Another software from PC Tools, that will work on both Internet Explorer and Firefox to detect potentially unsafe websites.


What are you using? If it's a good suggestion I will update the post with your links. Spam will be removed.

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Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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