If you are new to the concept of personal data security, please make sure to read part 1 of this 2 part article. Here we will review the different classes of how one could leak or lose personal data, and what specific software solution you can use to protect your personal data. Specifically, this article will enumerate free computer security programs that anyone can download and use free of charge. And it will only list those tools that are free security for PC and that are the best security for your PC platform. The top free tools and apps will be grouped accordingly in how they help secure personal data:
- From loss of computer or data storage device
- Malware infection prevention
- Phishing victim prevention
- Controlling disclosure to online networking sites
From loss of computer or storage device
If you lose your computer or your external storage device (e.g. USB drive or USB thumb drive), any personal data stored on those devices is an open book to anyone who finds them. You cannot guarantee that you will never lose or misplace your computer, external USB drive, or thumb drive, but you can certainly guarantee that no one else can access your personal data by using encryption technology that is freely available to anyone who has Internet access.
There are many free computer security programs out there for the PC platform. The ones I list here are some of the top solutions in their field and best security for your PC in their class.
- TrueCrypt: a free open-source disk encryption software for Windows (download TrueCrypt)
- PGP Desktop: PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy. PGP Desktop is a commercial product of PGP Corporation. When the trial version expires, its encryption function continues to be free and available (download PGP Desktop trial)
- BitLocker: If you have the Enterprise or Ultimate versions of Windows Vista or Windows 7, then it comes bundled with BitLocker. Explore the features of BitLocker at Microsoft.com.
You can combine encryption with online storage solutions to remove the chance you’ll lose personal data. This way you can save your personal data on encrypted files or volumes and then back it up online. If you ever lose your laptop, your personal data is secure (because it is encrypted), and you can recover it from the online backup service. There are free ones out there; here are some:
- iDrive: provides initial 2GB of free storage space
- ADrive: ADrive basic plan provides 50GB of free storage space (make sure to encrypt before uploading)
Malware infection prevention
There are thousands and thousands of malware, virus, spyware, worms, and other nasty things out there on the Internet. Without any protection, it would only take seconds for your computer to get infected. Some of these threats can damage your files or steal your personal data, and if your excuse for not having protection is that you can’t afford it, then look no more. Here, I list free computer security programs that can protect you from these threats and thus help secure your personal data.
- MalwareBytes Anti-malware: one of the best products out there for finding and fixing malware infections (download it)
- Spybot Search and Destroy: a very popular adware and spyware removal program (download Spybot Search and Destroy)
- AVG Free Anti-virus: provides basic anti-virus and anti-spyware protection (download AVG Free)
- avast! Free Antivirus: the most popular free antivirus software (download avast! Free Antivirus)
- MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials): protects against virus, spyware, and other malware; very easy to use (get MSE)
For good measure, you can install these free computer security programs designed to protect your personal data from being exposed to spyware or keyloggers:
- KeePass Password Safe: everyone has too many accounts to remember; if you make it easy for yourself to remember all your accounts and passwords, then it will be easy for hackers to break them; best security for your PC is to secure all your unique and hard to break account IDs and password in KeePass, then all you have to remember is one master password (get KeePass)
- KeyScrambler Free: if you suspect that your computer is infected with spyware running a keylogger, then you’ll need KeyScrambler (get KeyScrambler Free)
Phishing victim prevention
Many people do not realize this, but e-mail is not secure. You can get e-mail from people or organizations that claim to be someone they aren’t, and you may not be able to tell the difference unless you are an above average computer geek. Since most people aren’t above average computer geeks, they will need the aid of a third party solution to keep themselves from becoming phishing victims. When you become a phishing victim, you put your personal data at risk. The list of free security for PC platform solutions below are free yet effective.
- AVG LinkScanner: protects your personal data from Internet data snatchers (get AVG LinkScanner now)
- K9 Web Protection: you can protect yourself from accidentally landing on malicious phishing sites using this product (download K9 Web Protection)
- Open DNS Basic: not really software but a service; it requires a change in your network configuration so that your interface to the Internet first goes to them; they can protect against phishing, botnet, and malware sites.
Controlling disclosure to online networking sites
No software out there that can really help you prevent the posting of personal information or data on legitimate sites. Provided that you have not leaked out any of your personal data already, the only thing that can control and secure your personal data and information from leaking out is you!
Open Invitation to list Other Top Free Tools and Apps
If you know of other free tools and apps you’ve used to help protect or secure your personal data, don’t hesitate to share it with us. Just post the name of the product, what it does, and its corresponding URL. Thanks for stopping by and reading my article.
This post is part of the series: Securing your personal data
In todays digital age, when your personal data is compromised, it will can lead to the degredation of your financial standing or profile (i.e. big headache and loss of money). Learn personal computer data security concepts and find top free security PC tools to help protect your personal data