One of our great readers sent in this set of 7 pieces of free software that you can, and in most cases should, use to protect your PC laptop. Most of these also apply to your desktop as well.
I happen to use most of these and recommend them as well. At a minimum, you should be using antivirus, a firewall and backups.
- Encryption. TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] is a trustworthy encryption program that can protect your data against unauthorized access.
- Backup. Cobian Backup [cobiansoft.com] is reliable backup software that can protect your data against loss. One alternative is Mozy free edition [mozy.com], which is an online backup software with 2 Gbytes space, and there are many others as well.
- Antivirus. AVG free edition [avg.com] provides protection against viruses, spyware and other malware.
- Firewall. The built-in Windows firewall protects your laptop against hackers while you’re online. Ensure you configured it properly. By default, don’t allow anything in.
- Alarm. LAlarm [lalarm.com] can help prevent your laptop from theft and is like a car alarm for your laptop. Also it can recover and destroy data in case of laptop theft and more.
- Tracking. The Prey Project‘s [preyproject.com] laptop tracking software can locate your laptop if it is stolen.
- File shredder. Eraser [@ SourceForge] is a data sanitizing program that can permanently delete sensitive data such as files, passwords, Internet browse history, and more from your computer.