Ten free security utilities you should already be using

Ten free security utilities you should already be using

Summary: Here's a list of ten free security tools you can and should be using to help protect, disinfect and manage your Windows computer.


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  • Here's a list of ten free security tools you can and should be using to help protect, disinfect and manage your Windows computer.

    Number one is the Secunia Personal Software Inspector, quite possibly the most useful and important free application you can have running on your Windows machine.

    It can be used to scan all the installed applications on the PC to determine which programs are missing security patches/updates.

    The tool works by by examining files on your computer (primarily .exe, .dll, and .ocx files) for meta information on specific software builds installed. After examining all the files on the machine, the collected data is sent to Secunia’s servers and matched against the Secunia File Signatures engine determine the exact applications installed on your system.

    It can be used to flag insecure/end-of-life software and find direct download links to missing security updates.

    It monitors more than 4,200 desktop applications. More information here.

  • OpenDNS is a must-have free service (there's no software to install) that speeds up Web surfing, corrects domain typos on the fly and protects you from phishing scams.

    All you do is change your DNS settings (instructions here) to the OpenDNS servers: and

    OpenDNS also offers parental controls, shortcuts and other nifty features to help with safe and reliable browsing experience.

Topics: Open Source, IT Employment, Software, Servers, Security, Operating Systems, Browser, Networking, Microsoft, Malware, Hardware, Google, CXO, Windows

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  • So why was NoScript the last one mentioned?

    The first entry should have been Firefox to replace Internet Exploder and the second should have been NoScript. Anything that requires you to sign up and allows a third party server to monitor all of your DNS requests should have never, ever, made the list.
    • Why was the Mas OS X version used too?

      I guess the subliminal message is that most Firefox extensions run in all equivalent flavours of Firefox.
      Fred Fredrickson
      • Firefox skinned, not necessarily Mac OS

        See MaxFoxII skin at:


        Works in Linux, too.
    • Why wasn't Linux mentioned at all...

      Oh, wait, that's not part of a fresh, basic Windows XP install. Aren't able to be happy that NoScript was even mentioned at all, are you?
    • So why was NoScript ... mentioned at all?

      Given that it's annoying as hell to use and conditions users to allow web sites automatically whenever they fail to work (which happens on probably 70% of web sites).
      • NoScript irritating for some, but I still love it

        [i]conditions users to allow web sites automatically whenever they fail to work[/i]

        You are aware of the [b]Temporarily allow all this page[/b] option in the latest version I suppose? That makes sites work for the current session only, which is a good compromise between security and usability imho.

        Some people will always find NoScript annoying - I accept that. But when I wander into the dimly-lit backstreets of the web, I really want NoScript's body armor strapped onto the Fox.
        Don Collins
    • I don't think Firefox is a security utility. NT

      High Sierra
      • True, but at least it is not tied to the kernel.(NT)

  • n00bware

    If anyone needs those utilities -noscript they definitely have no business reading zdnet.
    • Censorship on ZDNet?

      Sorry, unless I'm mistaken, I thought ZDNet was an open news platform. I didn't realise you had to be a 1337 programmer to take part! Some of us don't have hours and hours to learn about every single new/useful utility. ZDNet is a great focal point for this info.

      I'll take any safe, useful, easy-to-use applications that I can run in a business environment (or at home) that make my job easier.

      After all, how else do you think I manage to keep my title of "Guru"? /chuckle

        "AU CANTRAIRE"? A French language "Guru" YOU ARE NOT!
        Don't use foreign words if you don't know their meaning and which you cannot spell.
        • LOL

          Hey! That's what you get when you take 3 years of High School German, add 2 semesters of Korean, Sesame Street exposure to Spanish, a conversational Japanese evening class to an incompleted Defense Language Institute course in French.

          My wife laughs so hard when I actually try speaking it that she gets the hiccups. Of course SHE has perfect pronunciation of the language, being a classical music major.
          • LOL also...Thanks:)

            Don't let the zombies get you down. Some folks are so tightly wound that it would require a structural failure in their face for them to actually.
            At least I enjoyed your comment. Most of this stuff can be made usefull so I expect to see it in the next version of system mechanic.
          • I just figgered you were being funny!

            I can't get rare either! ;)
    • n00b indeed

      Sparky- i don't know how long you have been in the field or your level of knowledge. However, I will say that there is no one software that does it all -- yet. I also must admit that anything that is easy and give the users more control and security is a real plus in any environment.
    • I agree its n00bware, BUT..

      Its nice to know whats out there.. so you can point users to it when they ask what is slowing their machines down. I am soo sick of manually cleaning machines of crapware. Granted, they pay and its good money.. but i would rather have a life than go through 2 hours of cleaning.
      • Amen...

        Been there, done that. After I got out of the business of PC repair and became a Network jockey, I still have people asking me to clean their PCs so it's good to have an undated list of utilities they can use themselves. My list of clean-up utilities is over 2 years old, ancient by today's standards, and much of what was good then is now superseded or compromised.
    • Suicidal wannabe

      I'd be willing to bet that at least 35% of the folks on ZDNET are managing or supporting a LARGE group of n00bs or pre-n00bs. Unfortunately, the vast majority of cpusers don't/can't/won't learn anything about their machines or how to protect them. I think that a comprehensive list of FREE software which performs "as well as" or "better than" some other software - which would otherwise cost a company $50,000 in bulk licensing and implementation - is a wonderful thing.

      The rest of the folks reading ZDNet want to have sensible solutions presented on a platter to save themselves time and energy. Most importantly ... ZDNet caters to anyone who wishes to learn or understand.

      I think that pre-pubescent moose-knuckles who have the presumtiveness to assume that they are 1337 ... because they keylogged their mom's laptop to get her credit card numbers or because they managed to no-cd crack Medal of Honor ... don't belong on ZDNet.
      • presumtiveness???

        Hmmm, do you mean "presumption" perhaps?