All PC users, whether advanced or beginner, need to sort out their antivirus and security software as a matter of urgency. Browsing online leads to malware attacks quite quickly if you leave yourself vulnerable, and you can’t use the excuse of software being expensive, because all these free options are excellent choices that cost nothing at all to download and install.
Firewall – pfSense
A sturdy firewall is your first defence against viruses and malware attacks on your PC. A firewall is essential, but paying for one is far from it. pfSense is our favourite free option because its open-source, lightweight coding makes it highly efficient. It’s flexible and suitable for pretty much everyone.
VPN – CyberGhost
Most VPN software involves having some form of paid subscription to protect your identity and security when browsing online, as well as accessing content that’s only available in certain countries. CyberGhost is a rare example of a free service that’s actually effective and straightforward, so for most intermediate users we would recommend trying it.
Internet Security – Qihoo 360
Many of the best free antivirus programs don’t include Internet Security, and instead make it into a paid subscription feature. If you’re willing to use a free trial and consider paying later, you could look at Kaspersky or AVG, but for a 100% free service we would probably choose Qihoo 360 due to its comprehensive coverage even in a free version.
Encryption – TrueCrypt 7.1a
It’s handy to be able to transport your files back and forth on a USB drive, until of course you lose it. This can be impractical at best, and at worst can pose a serious security risk to yourself or your workplace. TrueCrypt 7.1a is a great piece of freeware that encrypts and hides your files on a flash drive, and probably the best option (if you spend some time learning how to use it properly). Although there were issues with TrueCrypt and the developers discontinued the service, this version of the software is still in use by millions of people. It is also currently part of an independent audit, which so far has identified no major issues.