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Computer Security Setups: How To Maximize the Security of Your PC

written by: Jeremy Bost•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011

Security suites are useful and easy, but when you run multiple programs, each defending you in its own way, then you get the best protection from threats.

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    Overview

    Internet security suites are popular. The ability to have one simple, easy-to-manage program appeals to most users. But more often than not, having a few different security applications protects you the best.

    Why? Well, some programs have their own, unique techniques to fighting malware. When these techniques are combined, the level of security on your computer rises. The key is finding programs that don't overlap much, and that are compatible with each other.

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    A Setup for Inexperienced Users

    Inexperienced users usually like programs that they can "set and forget". This often decreases the security though. We need something quiet, yet strong.

    GeSWall is the first application I recommend. After install, it doesn't require customizing. Because it does not bombard people with alerts and notifications, it is exceptionally easy to use while still providing great protection. If you want even fewer notifications, consider buying the Profession Version which comes with preconfigured rules.

    Comodo Internet Security (CIS) has a reputation for giving lots of alerts. Although Comodo has made efforts to reduce the number, it still is generally not user friendly. If you don't want to be bothered by alerts, try these instructions (click on the links with the camera to see a picture):

    This is called "Parent Mode". Now, all new files (except for files digitally certified with a trusted vendor's certificate) on the computer will not be allowed to do any actions that CIS detects. Files already on the computer are allowed to do anything. In addition to being an effective method of securing your PC, it is also very useful for public computers and computers that kids are using.

    You may also consider getting the a Pro license (about $39 USD) for CIS, which includes remote support to help you with common problems.

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    A Setup for Advanced Users

    Generally, advanced users prefer to know what is going on in their system, and be in control of it. Of course, that means more alerts.

    Even though GeSWall doesn't provide users with a substantial amount of control over its operation, I nonetheless recommend it for advanced users too.

    And I also recommend Comodo Internet Security again, but with different settings from those outlined above.

    • Install CIS and restart after completion.
    • Right-click on the shield icon on the tray/notification area.
    • Change the configuration to "Proactive Security" .
    • Change the Defense+ Security Level to "Safe Mode" (or "Paranoid Mode", if you really want tons of alerts).
    • Change the Firewall Security Level to "Custom Policy Mode" .

    This will give a fair amount of alerts so as not to overwhelm the user, but still let him know what is going on. Note: This will generate many alerts at the beginning, but they will lessen over time.

    The Pro Version of CIS is not needed unless you want TrustConnect, which creates a secure VPN connection from your computer to Comodo's servers.

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    Conclusion

    Why do I recommend Comodo Internet Security and GeSWall? First, CIS's firewall is often at the top of leak tests. It has an antivirus, though it may not be as good as others as that component is fairly new. But the element that offers the most protection is Defense+, a HIPS (something that alerts users to suspicious actions). A strong HIPS is rare in many security programs, and CIS is able to provide great protection with interfering with the day-to-day computing experience. Plus, the excellent configuration options, self protection, and minimal resource usage are all additional benefits.

    GeSWall's combination of monitoring and file isolation is almost unique (some other programs are slightly similar). The fact that the free versions of these two programs supply wonderful protection also puts them ahead of the crowd.

    In conclusion, Comodo Internet Security and GeSWall together give you more than adequate defense against the host of malware out in the wild.