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Security downloads: Know your computer, Virus, Email and Spam, Firewalls, Spyware, Networks and Wireless, Other

***= highly recommended!

*** Cut to the chase with 7 Steps to Internet Security! Also worth checking - Keeping Kids Safe
Know your computer 
Read my Security tutorial's section on Knowing Your Computer :
WinZip ( is US$29 shareware that is perhaps the industry-standard for Windows zipping/unzipping.
***Iceows ( is free zipping/unzipping software that works like the built-in feature in Win ME/XP-- making zipped files work like folders.
***Startup Control Panel ( lets users see what's loading automatically at system startup, allowing them to safely disable them. (Win98/98SE/ME/XP users have msconfig built in, offering similar features).
***Startup Monitor ( is another very nice freebie from the same source. It runs in the background, warning users if something tries to set itself to load automatically at startup. 
Startup Cop Pro (,4149,1406616,00.asp) is an inexpensive, but not free startup controller from PC Magazine-- it's best feature is that it links to online sources for information about startup items.
Another program from Microsoft giving lots of information on auto-startup programs is Autoruns:

Windows Update ( Check here regularly to keep your Windows installation updated! Feb 2004: Microsoft is offering a free CD (free shipping, too!) with critical updates (to Oct 2003) for various OS versions. Order a copy: Windows 98 and 98SE users can find updates at:
Office Update: ( If you're using Microsoft Office, you also should be checking here regularly to keep it up to date!
Check out startup programs and processes at Answers That Work's Task List Programs webpage
Secunia offers online and downloadable services to check to make sure Windows, drivers, and applications are up to date
Read my Security tutorial's section on viruses:
Read about the people who create viruses (free registration required): 
Check whether an email warning about viruses is a hoax from: List of free Antivirus software:
Review (with links) to ten free antivirus programs
*** Free Avira antivirus:

*** Free AVG antivirus:
*** Free AVAST antivirus:
*** Free PC Tools Antivirus:
Online virus checking from: Symantec's automated virus-removal tools:
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool: "This tool checks your computer for infection by specific, prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and helps to remove the infection if it is found. Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month."
**** Microsoft Security Essentials is a well-regarded free security suite - antivirus, antispyware, etc.
New (December 2013): Hot off the press - PC Mag reviews the field of free antivirus/antispyware options:,2817,2388652,00.asp
Email and Spam 
Read my Security tutorial's section on email and spam:
Read a PC World article on creating your own spam filters:
Learn to filter spam out of Eudora Mail:
April 2008: PC Magazine's The Best Ways to Stop Spam:,2704,2280430,00.asp

K9 ( is a free spam filter for Outlook Express and other Pop3 mail programs.
***SpamBayes ( is a very good, free add-on for MS Outlook
***PopFile ( is a free open-source, cross-platform spam filter that works with most email software. 
NoSpamToday ( is free for personal use, and supports up to 10 email addresses.
Mailwasher ( is another free version, with a commercial (paid) Pro version.
***Mozilla Thunderbird ( is a free email program with antispam features, Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X versions. It imports mail and settings from Eudora, Outlook Express, and other popular programs.
Natata AntiSpam Encoder ( hides your email address when posted on webpage mailto: links.
Blue Frog Anti Spam ( will analyze spam reported by Blue Community members and reports,2817,2364059,00.aspsites advertised by spam to the ISPs hosting them, to government agencies and to other anti-spam groups. Firewalls 
Read my Security tutorial's section on firewalls:
***Steve Gibson's Shield's Up ( tests your computer's vulnerability as does Symantec's Security Check:
PC Magazine, in Nov 2002 reported on programs that may commonly be trying to access the Internet from your computer:,4149,640479,00.asp
***Zone Alarm is a popular firewall, with a free basic version:
Sygate Personal Firewall is no longer being distributed by Sygate since that company was bought by Symantec, though copies may still be found online (free for home/personal use).
Kerio Personal Firewall can still be downloaded, at least for now!
Comodo Personal Firewall is a new, modern, free firewall that's getting great reviews. (Win95 through XP)
Also new: Ashampoo Firewall (Win 2000/XP) and PC Tools Firewall Plus (Windows 2000, XP, Vista)

Read the Sept 2003 ComputerWorld article about how worms and viruses can get past your firewall if you're not careful:,10801,85247,00.html?nas=SEC2-85247
(May 2008) PC Magazine reviewed PC Tools' free ThreatFire 3.5 firewall, and considered it best of breed. Read the review, then download the firewall!
(May 2010) PC Magazine likes the free Zone Alarm a lot... read the review.
Read my Security tutorial's section on spyware:
April 2008: PC Magazine's Nine Ways to Wipe Out Spyware:,2817,2255857,00.asp

Spyware Guide ( lists a wide range of spyware
Diet K ( removes spyware components from the once-popular Kazaa peer-to-peer program. 
***Kazaa fans could also replace that program with the spyware-free Kazaa Lite or Kazaa++ versions. (Download sites change frequently, so check on Google or other search engine).
FileSharing Sentinel ( keeps users from installing popular file-sharing programs.
***Startup Monitor ( is another very nice freebie from the same source. It runs in the background, warning users if something tries to set itself to load automatically at startup. Use it together with the Task List Page.
I no longer recommend AdAware ( SpyBot Search and Destroy ( but if you're still running Windows 98 or ME you may have no other choice.
*** Malwarebyte Anti-Malware has a free version, which scans and removes spyware, but must be run manually. The paid version works automatically in the background.

*** PC Tools Spyware Doctor Starter Edition: Works with Windows 2000, XP, and Vista
**** Microsoft Security Essentials is a well-regarded free security suite - antivirus, antispyware, etc.
New (July 2010): Hot off the press - PC Mag reviews the field of free antivirus/antispyware options:,2817,2356509,00.asp

Networks and Wireless
Read my Security tutorial's section on network and wireless issues:
***BlackViper's website has step-by-step guidance for turning off unneeded services in Windows 2000 ( and XP: (
802.11 Community List ( shows free wireless networks worldwide
  • *** McAfee Site Advisor adds notification to Google or Yahoo searches in Internet Explorer or Firefox if your search results are unsafe: dangerous downloads, misuse of personal information, etc. Other free McAfee tools are available at that link as well, including online virus scan and removal tools.
  • The free Sophos AntiRootkit finds and removes any rootkit that is hidden on your computer. Or try the GMER rootkit detector or Blacklight from F-Secure. Here's a comprehensive list of free rootkits scanners.

    compiled by Alan Zisman(c) 2001. Last updated, 9 May 2013