Protect Your PC From Becoming a Zombie Machine Using These Free Security Software
Posted on 12th April, 2007
A recent survey conducted by Symantec reveals alarming stats that showed 96% of computers in Malaysia are zombie machines.
This gives another reason for us to be more wary especially if you are using public computers such as those in cybercafes.
Zombie machines are PCs that have been compromised by hackers and used to send spam emails, or launched phishing attacked that lure unwitting computer users to reveal personal information such as credit card details and bank account passwords.
Malaysia ranks No 7 as a propagator of zombie machines in the Asia-Pacific region. China occupies the top spot, followed by South Korea , Taiwan , Japan , Thailand and Vietnam .
According to the survey, you are more likely to encounter zombie machines in Kuala Lumpur where many PC users have broadband Internet access. Once you become a victim of a phishing attack, your stolen personal information such as bank account could be sold and fetch up to RM1,100 in the black market. A verified PayPal account could be sold between RM175 and RM1750.
The reason for the problem can be attributed to the lack of awareness of the security precautions the users need to take to safeguard their computer. Those who install pirated software are also at risk because some of this software contained Trojans which is planted into the users’ computers when the software is installed.
One way to remedy this problem is to install security software that combines antivirus, firewall and instruction detection capabilities. Installing antivirus software alone is not enough to protect your computer.
You can purchase these software from Symantec.com, Mcafee.com or any other security companies. If you like you can also use the ones that are freely available. Having the later option gives you no excuse not to install security software to safeguard your computer.
I’ve listed several free antivirus, firewall and instruction detection software below
Free Anti Virus Software
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition scans files on access on demand and on schedule. The separate user interface between Control Center and Test Center can be a little confusion nevertheless it gets the job done.
Avast! 4 Home Edition
Those who like software with pretty interface will find this app appealing as it comes with skinnable interface. It scans files on demand, on access including email attachments but on schedule scanning is only available on the paid version. It also scan your computer at boot time.
Free Firewall Software
Comodo Firewall helps to secure your computer by preventing hacker from accessing your computer and prevent unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet.
One of the popular firewall software, ZoneAlarm doesn’t have all the features of ZoneAlarm Pro’s firewall. It monitors which programs are allowed to access the Internet by asking you instead of consulting the SmartDefense Advisor database.
Antispyware and anti-phishing software
This tool cleans out spyware from your system and prevent further invasion. My only gripe is that it doesn’t have antiphishing solution and a few high-end tools. You have to check for updates manually. If you can get over those limitations, it does its job well.
Other security software worth mentioning
Not the best free spyware scanner around but its on-demand scanner is useful if you want a second opinion.
StartupMonitor alerts the user when a program tries to install itself whenever you boot up Windows.
It protects sensitive file up to 200KB by encrypting it and hiding it inside a JPEG image. The original will be securely deleted.
Besides installing the above, my other advice is to keep your Firefox and Internet Explorer browser up-to-date. If you have a favorite free security software or tips to secure your computer, please share with us in the comment section.