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Top Five Completely Free Internet Security Programs

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011

Many security companies offer free products. Some of those products are fully featured, while others are stripped down versions of a pay-for product. Read this article to find out which are the best, completely free security products for Windows.

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    Free security software with real-time protection

    There are only few vendors that will provide free real-time protection of their product and most users understand that unlike the paid editions (please see the Top 5 Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software for Home Office PCs) some freeware often has… a catch. So, here's a list of the best free internet security software. The products will help keep your computer and data safe and secure from internet security threats without breaking the budget:

    Firewall

    Comodo Firewall Pro – This free firewall simply provides what a firewall should do, a two-way firewall with HIPS protection and a security check for malware prior installation. Comodo wrote “Unlike some other free firewalls, this is not a stripped down version, but is a fully functional product. Updates are also free.” It will run in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista. Note that Comodo Firewall Pro is no longer available as a standalone product - instead, it's offered as part of Comodo Internet Security suite (a completely free integrated security solution).

    Anti-virus

    AntiVir Personal – Proven to provide high malware detections even if you will only use the personal free edition because it does not only scan and protect from malware but will also protect from phishing and rootkit. Daily updates are free and you can install AntiVir Personal edition on Windows 2000/XP/Vista. The Premium edition was rated as Advanced Plus by AV-comparatives while Anti-Malware Test Lab awarded the personal edition with Gold award. The catch: Limited protection only because it does not include protection against adware, spyware, bot networks and drive-by downloads. Also, the AntiVir Personal edition will nag users to buy the premium edition of the software.

    Anti-spyware

    SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard by Javacool – Downloading and installing software is what all users do while online. This two free program will prevent the download and installation of known malicious software in real-time. You can install SpywareGuard in Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and you run SpywareBlaster in the same operating systems including Vista. The catch: No auto-update with the free edition of SpywareBlaster.

    Spybot - Search & Destroy – This freeware anti-spyware program will offer real-time protection against spyware. It has been one of the top anti-spyware for years and no doubt have helped a lot of users. The catch: Slow in detection new malware because the detection update is not daily.

    Browser Security Add-ons

    SiteAdvisor - one of the widely-use browser security add-on that will rate a site or a link (in search engine) for its reputation by providing visual safety ratings that should help protect users from a wide range of security threats and nuisances including adware, spam, viruses, and online scams. This browser add-on was acquired by McAfee from SiteAdvisor Inc during 2006. The catch: The freeware edition do not offer "protected mode" and "safety rating in email or instant messenger". SiteAdvisor is popular but it is slow in blocking a bad site even many of its reviewer provided a comment. There are alternatives that is not very popular yet but effective. Example: SiteHound by Firetrust and Web of Trust.