Best computer security software – free and paid – to protect your phones, laptops, computers
The average US household has more than ten internet connected devices . Each one of them can give a cybercriminal an opportunity to compromise your home network. Computer security software can protect all the gadgets we love – like game consoles and smart TVs. Security software also protects the things we need to use – like our computers and phones – when we work from home or attend online classes.
A recent study released by Comcast says that people grossly underestimate how often hackers attempt to break into home networks. Ninety-five percent of survey respondents underestimated the massive volume of cyberattacks on home routers and the networks they are connected to. The average person may feel that their home network is too inconsequential to be the target cyber criminals Comcast’s study data showed then it was an astounding 104 times per month.
Employees are increasingly working from home. If your new office is now your kitchen table, hopefully, your employer provides a virtual private network (or VPN) to protect your devices. Login credentials to a corporate Microsoft Office 365 account can be extremely valuable two threat actors.
Your work, school, or another organization may have VPN software, an antivirus app, or other security tools installed. But that isn’t enough.
But that doesn’t mean your device is completely protected.
Besides securing your email, you also need to keep passwords secure and use two-factor authentication (2FA) when you can. Unfortunately, not all online accounts provide this option.
The Comcast study also showed that 64 percent of respondents said they engage in behaviors – like reusing or sharing passwords – that make their networks and accounts vulnerable to cyber criminals . When you reuse passwords, once a hacker steals one email address and password combination, they can use it to break into your other accounts.
Then there are data encryption and privacy tools engineered to keep your personal information protected. Not only do hackers want your information so do advertisers. They use your web browsing activity and use of social media apps to decide what advertisements to show you. Tech companies also buy and sell internet user data to partners.
Be Prepared for Computer Security Software Fails
You can also protect your computers or laptops by backing up important information to an external drive. A portable USB connected hard drive can save important documents in photos. The backup hard drive should not be connected to the Internet. In case your laptop or computer is hacked, you won’t lose the information on the backup hard drive too. Inexpensive hard drives that can store several terabytes of information are available online for under $100.
Take Your Updates
Enabling automatic software updates for all your apps and operating systems is one of the best things you can do to protect your Internet connected devices from cyber criminals. This is an easy option that can be enabled to run automatically while you sleep.
Be Mindful of Downloads
A common tactic used by cyber criminals to launch malware attacks is to spoof a website and fool people into clicking on links thinking they can download free software or other giveaways. Popular games and productivity tools are often the most popular lures.
Be mindful of what you download. Click on links in unsolicited emails. Never download an email attachment that you weren’t expecting. Don’t download a game from links in advertisement or links from within another game. Only download software and apps from official app stores or the manufacturer’s website.
The word malware means “malicious software.” It’s a broad term that means any app or software backing causes harm to your computer. Malware can do anything from spy all your messages, steal account logins, nick credit card numbers, or carry out other theft.
Relying on any single app to protect your network, commuter, information, and privacy isn’t a solid plan. Not even the best computer security app has avoided intrusion. Almost every computer security app has been compromised at one time or another. No one antivirus tool, can block every phishing email or malware that is delivered to your inbox.
Computer Security Software for Common Vulnerabilities:
- Phishing emails – These scam emails contain harmful links and attachments back in steel your money or in fact your computer with malware read our guide on how to spot a phishing email
- Slow Performance – Even if nothing is stolen computer code called adware can slow your computer or phone down by causing popup windows and excessive advertisements to show uncontrollably
- Data Privacy – Advertisers harvest and sell your web browsing activity. Good computer security software helps limit your personal data and what apps can see it
- Medical Privacy – Medical identity theft is a thing. If you use your phone or computer to log into medical records or your insurance company, your private data may be at risk.
- Secure websites you view – You simply may not want advertisers or people in your own home seeing what websites you visit and what videos you watch. Computer security software can help keep your interactivity private
iPhones and Macs Need Security Software Too
Mac and iPhone users often feel they are completely immune to malware and other device compromises. It’s true, Apple devices have a larger variety of first-party apps and both macOS and downloaded apps get all updates through Apple’s own App Store.
But that’s not completely true. iPhones have been infected with RAT malware.
Any phone that is rooted or jailbroken is especially vulnerable to malware and other device compromises.
How to secure your computer
- Only download apps from an official app store like the Apple Store or Google Play or the software producer’s official website.
- Adding browser extensions can cause problems. Sometimes these add-ons can be spyware or have their own vulnerabilities
- Keep your operating system, web browsers, and other apps updated – this is a free and easy option
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on every device and account you can
- Use strong passwords
- Use biometric logins when you can
- Consider upgrading to a phone or computer that supports biometric logins
- Secure your smart TVs, printers, and IoT devices – Yes IoT refrigerators can get hacked too
If you spend a lot of time in shady websites and apps or if you think you may have already been infected with malicious software. The premium version of Malwarebytes has an up-to-date library of malicious sites and links for the best protection. This is super useful if you download a lot of apps or email attachments. At $40 per year, it’s an inexpensive proposition
- Source: Statista: Average number of connected devices residents have access to in U.S. households in 2020, by device