As the name implies, desktop security software is a broad term to describe a myriad of different programs that help secure a desktop against all forms of threats. Although it’s a broad term, there are very specific things that desktop security seeks to deter:
- Viruses, Trojans, and worms
- Phishing schemes
These four major threats compose the bulk of Internet security threats and cause the most damage to computers. Each program deals with a different type of threat, though there are comprehensive desktop security programs that fight off all forms of threat and provide firewall protection against potential threats.
Spyware is a type of malicious program that spies on your computer activities. It might record keystrokes, keep track of purchases you make, or monitor the programs on your computer. For your desktop to be secure against spyware, it’s necessary to have a spyware blocker or scan to take care of threats. Many programs combine spyware and virus scans so that you can take care of two threats during one scan.
Viruses, Trojans, and worms are some of the most costly computer threats of today. They can seriously damage a computer, wipe a hard drive clean, or strip all of your information so that the people that downloaded the virus to your computer can access your credit card numbers and more. There are other forms of these pesky predators that simply create havoc on your computer.
Pop-ups are familiar foes and most browsers now come with effective pop-up blockers that eliminate the threat of these altogether. Be aware that not all pop-ups are malicious. Some legitimate Web sites use pop-ups to earn ad revenue, not to destroy your computer. You can never be too careful about these automatic ads, though. Most people choose to secure their desktop by blocking pop-ups. There are times when you can disable a pop-up blocker permanently for a Web site of your choosing. If you trust a Web site and want to help them earn ad revenue to keep their content on the net, you can easily allow pop-ups for that site and still block them for other sites.
Comprehensive software programs can help secure your desktop from all of these threats, as well as protect you from phishing scams. There are some malicious programs that claim to offer protection, so always search the net for reviews of any program before you download it. There have been many advances in that kind of scam in the past few years and even veteran net users have fallen for it. Primary security systems include Symantec, McAfee, and Spybot Search & Destroy. Not all of these offer comprehensive security, so if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, you’ll need to double-check and make sure they’re offered.
There are many good free desktop security programs that let you scan for spyware and viruses. Adaware catches adware just as promised and Spybot Search & Destroy is a widely respected program that offers its services for free, surviving and improving thanks to the donations of satisfied downloaders. As long as there are Internet security threats, there will be great programs out there that will increase your chances of avoiding these many threats. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you have. If you want to continue using it, download a desktop security program and activate it as soon as possible. Look only for reputable programs that have a proven track record for excellence and honesty.
As a final note, it’s important to understand that there are many free virus and spyware scans out there that actually catch many of these malicious programs before they become out of control. Once again, reviews on Cnet and other Web sites can help you determine if these programs work and are safe to download. Most download Web sites have reviews by customers and editors so that if a program is unsafe, you’ll know it before you download.