Security Utilities I use and recommend

(Updated 2012-07-09)

Wireless Networking Tips and Security

Required Grisoft AVG FREE Edition Free anti-virus software.  Recommended by my fellow MVPs.  Handles Eudora email viruses better then McAfee.       (New 2003-11-08)  Requires periodic updates.  You must change their standard updates from 14 days to 1 day. 

McAfee anti-virus software.  No longer used as I heard about Grisoft. It's worked for me for many years.  I never turn it off while installing new software.   I can't stand their blasted pop-up ads when I visit their website.  Grrrrr.  Norton works just as well.

Required Microsoft Windows Update Run this weekly or so.  Some of the vulnerabilities will allow folks to take over your system remotely.  You are strongly urged to apply all critical updates.   You may choose to not install various Windows updates as you wish.   Or Media Player 9 as it has some particularly ugly licensing requirements which force you to download updates from Microsoft.

Required Firewall Software and/or hardware

If you have a full time Internet connection such as ADSL or cable modem then you want a hardware firewall which will block incoming connections.  .  These are about $50 or $70 and also allow you to share your connection among multiple computers.If you use dialup then you can't use these.   Either way though you also want firewall software.

Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall.  Which is the absolute minimum for firewalls. However this only inspects incoming traffic. 

Zone Alarm Free and Kerio Personal Firewall Freemonitors incoming and outgoing connections. This means software which attempts to start an outgoing Internet connection requires your confirmation.  You never know what software already installed or downloadable will be connecting to from your system.  Zone Alarm is simpler to use while Kerio is much more technical and requires some basic understanding of ports and such. 

SpyBot Search & Destroy Freecan detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer..  I've been quite startled at the number of such bugs on friends and relatives computers.  Requires periodic updates
Ad-awareFree Very similar to above but it's worth running both as they will sometime catch different spyware.      (New 2003-12-07)   Requires periodic updates

Pop Up Stopper Free Just like it states.  Occasionally you have to hold the shift key down to let it work.  Other times you have to disable it temporarily.  But that's well worth putting up with all the troubles.  I just love that twanging sound it makes when it blocks popup windows.

        AdShield Free(Trial version)  Similar to Pop Up Stopper.   (New 2003-12-15)  

MailWasher Anti spam. Free You run it before you run your email program. It downloads the email headers and the first 20 lines of the email. Then does it's friends, filters and open relay checking. You then delete the crap in place and download the real emails in your email software.  Email me for some useful rules.     (New 2003-10-06)
Spambayes on Windows Outlook Addin for catching spam. It learns from you what is spam and what isn't.  A friend really likes it.  There is a version available for non Outlook users but it's a bit more work to setup.     (New 2003-12-07)  

I use the following blacklist servers:,,,,,   The Spamhaus XBL listing is particularly useful as it tracks computers which have been hijacked by spammers.  Presumably almost all of these are home systems which haven't been secured.  How a friends computer got hacked and hijacked  (New 2004-01-03)

If you want to backup your MailWasher Pro settings they are:
1) the blacklist.txt and filters file in C:\Documents and Settings\% user name%\Application Data\MailWasherPro and
2) the registry settings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FireTrust\MailWasher Pro.  (New 2004-01-03)

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer Free checks for security patches on most installed Microsoft products.

Useful security related links

My Favourite Freeware by fellow MVP James A. Eshelman.  Mostly technical in nature and more for computer geeks.

Bugs, Glitches & Stuffups  "helping people beat the latest spyware trends" is a very useful website and very current.

Really Annoying Signature Tag Line about Security that Susan used to put in her email is now on this Web Page      (New 2003-02-13)  

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