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How do I Choose the Best Free Internet Security Software?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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There is a wide range of free Internet security software packages available for downloading. It is important to carefully review the product features and authenticity of the company before installing this type of software. Internet security software is designed to stop unauthorized access to your computer hard drive, protect your Internet activity from outside interference, and prevent the use of your computer resources by outside parties.

There are two types of free Internet security software: introductory offer or open source. Obtaining something for free during an introductory or trial offer is quite familiar to most people. The software company allows you to download and install the product at no charge. However, it is only valid for a specific number of days. Once this time expires, the software cannot be used without entering a serial number that must be purchased from the company.

The other type of free Internet security software is known as open source. An open source program is available to anyone, and the programming code is visible. Open source products are developed by a community of programmers and developers. This type of security software was originally very popular, but decreased as it became apparent that malicious computer users were skilled programmers as well.

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Look at the list of features provided with the different software packages, and take the time to think about the data stored on your computer and the type of activity you use your computer for. A typical personal computer needs to be protected from viruses and Trojan horse programs. The actual data most people have on their computer is not valuable to organized crime and provides no means for profit. The greatest risk for most people is online banking and money management software that lists all account numbers and balances.

However, a business that keeps its accounting system, email, invoice templates, and communications on the computer will need enhanced security features. Typically, businesses purchase sufficient hardware for multiple computers, and hackers may want to access this processing power to avoid detection while committing criminal activities.

Check the legitimacy of the company to ensure it is not a front for a criminal organization, but part of a larger, authentic security software firm. Many free Internet security software products installed by unsuspecting customers are actually Trojan horse programs, providing complete access to the computer and all the data transmitted via the Internet. Legitimate companies are fairly easy to validate, simply by contacting the company or searching for background information on the web.

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Ana1234
Post 3

One thing I've noticed is that free software tends to become really laggy on older systems when it is allowed free rein to download whatever and whenever it wants. If you want a really good, slim system, you should make sure it only notifies you when it needs to download something, it doesn't just go ahead without your permission.

On the other hand, if you do this, make sure you do keep it up to date as much as possible. Security software is only going to protect you if it's got all the latest updates.

pleonasm
Post 2

@Fa5t3r - Actually, I think there are a few really good companies that only really make professional quality software to sell, but have perfectly good home-use software available for free. That way they get a lot of free advertising and become a household name, so they can sell their other products.

I have a couple of technology blogs that I follow that tend to do reviews of different kinds of software every year and point out which ones are the best kinds for which systems. If they say to upgrade, then I will look into it, otherwise I stick with what works for me at the moment.

Fa5t3r
Post 1

Make sure you go to review sites and poke around at all the different opinions about your potential security software. Sometimes it might be legitimate but still not a very good choice, because it slows down your computer, or because it spasms you with ads too often.

If it's free, there are going to be some drawbacks or they would never be able to get anyone to buy the paid software. It's up to you to find the one that isn't going to be too annoying.

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