Top 13 Free Security Tools to Keep on Your Flash Drive
written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011
Portable security tools are becoming popular not only with travelers or people on the go, but also with people who have more than one computers and limited hard-disk space. Read this article to find out more about the must-have free security tools that should be on your flash drive.
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Anti-Malware Tools for Your Flash Drive
Most malware will block the installation of scanners or will shut down any installed scanners. Some malware will stop you from connecting to security vendors websites, meaning that you be unable to download either the security tools or updates for them. It's sometimes possible to "trick" the malware scanner by renaming the executable of your security application, but this is not a foolproof method and does not always work. If ever you come across such a situation, having these tools on your portable device will really help:
A-squared Emergency USB Stick - no update is needed because a-squared emergency USB stick includes the detection signatures. To run this, you will need to extract the content of the a2usb.zip in the root directory of the portable device. Note that Emsi Software is not offering a manual download of the detection signature which means you’ll have to re-download the whole package again to enjoy the latest and most current detection signature by A-squared.
ClamWin – You can follow the guide in their site on how to make ClamWin portable or use the portable edition provided by PortableApps. Updating the database is easily done by downloading the new database (main.cvd or daily.cvd) from clamav.net.
WinPatrolToGo – most malware will block a user in accessing important system utility such as Task Manager, Services console, System Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG) and others. WinPatrolToGo will be your hero to end the running processes of the malware before you will scan using A-squared or ClamWin.
HijackThis – Removing the remnants of the malware or fixing the modified settings in Windows that the malware have done is easy using HijackThis. It will also help you in diagnosing what else requires fixing.
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Why Portable Tools are Useful?
When I purchased my laptop from Dell in 2006, I had the option to buy the laptop with hard drive of between 60GB and 120GB. I decided on 80GB to keep the weight down. The laptop is almost 3 years old and the 80GB hard-drive has 40GB of free space left. Upgrading to 100GB or 120GB is a solution - but an expensive one - so I decided to use a portable device to store some of my data. Also, I decided to start using portable applications instead of installing on my laptop, which saves some addition disk space.
Portable applications are handy not only to reduce disk use, but also if you have more than one computer or if you need to fix somebody else's computer.
Below are the best portable security tools.
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Privacy Tools in Your Flash Drive
CCleaner or Eraser – Cleaning the system is not complete without any of these two tools because CCleaner and Eraser will securely delete the files by shredding it into pieces and they can wipe the free hard-disk space too so you are leaving no sensitive data in the computer.
TrueCrypt – Secure your data without the need of expensive encryption software. You can use TrueCrypt as traveler/portable mode for any on-the-fly encryption. The upcoming Windows 7 (currently in beta) operating system by Microsoft includes similar application called BitLockerToGo.
KeePass Password Safe – how many times you have to halt to login because you forgot your password? With KeePass Password Safe, you will be carrying your password. Of course, it is best to encrypt your passwords and password protects your passwords so you’ll only remember one password to have access to your hundreds of passwords!
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Recovery and Uninstaller Utilities in Your Flash Drive
Revo Uninstaller – this uninstall utility is better than the built-in Add/Remove Programs in Windows. It will not only remove the software but allowing you also to scan the registry, files and folders so that no traces are left. Revo Uninstaller is quite useful if you come across to buggy uninstaller by any application.
Recuva – Any important files that you’ve deleted can be recovered (as long it is not deleted securely!) using Recuva. If you are familiar with Undelete 2009, you’ll know the importance of Recuva.
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Web Browser and Operating System in Your Flash Drive
Firefox or Opera – malware can hijack the web browsers but if you have portable Opera or Firefox, you can easily browse without worrying for hijackers. It’s good also to keep these programs in your flash drive so your bookmarks are notes (Opera have a built-in notepad) are with you all the time.
Portable Ubuntu – How cool it is that you can run another Operating System as application in your Windows? With portable Ubuntu in your flash drive, you will be able fix any Windows issue if you have access to another OS without the need of another computer or reboot.
You’ll never know when you will need the portable applications mentioned in this article, so be sure to keep them on your flash drive!