April 16, 2014

Recommended Web Filter, Antivirus, and Anti-spyware Programs

"Global Business Background" by Dawn Hudson
My husband and I use different programs to protect our computer from computer viruses, spyware, and web filters. We've experimented with several programs and found these to be effective and free for home use.

Antivirus and Anti-spyware

We use Avast antivirus and SuperAntiSpyware on our computers. Most of us know that we need an antivirus program, but you also need an anti-spyware program to block malware and spyware. These programs also help keep your from being computer bogged down. Avast is more comprehensive and up-to-date than McAffee and Norton antivirus.

Web Filters

Adults and children both need web filters. Yes, even adults need web filters. We all have addictions that we are susceptible to--gambling, movies, online shopping, etc. It's best if the person with the least temptation (even if it's a teenager) has the password to web filters. It should be someone who will not let you give into temptation. Also, keep computers in public spaces.

Do not let children have a computer or mobile device in their own bedroom! This is a safety issue when it comes to online predators, cyber-bullying, and exposure to pornography. According to missingkids.com, 1 in 7 youth were exposed to unwanted sexual solicitations; 1 in 3 unwanted exposure to sexual material; and 1 in 11 exposed to direct harassment. Also teach children to keep personal information private.

Web Filter on Your Hardware

Layer web filters. You need a layer installed on your computer and then a layer for your router. K9 web protection is an internet filter that you install individually on each computer or each mobile device. Since it is installed on an individual computer instead of based over the internet or on a router, k9 still works when you plug into a land-line for internet. It cannot be removed except by the password holder. However, k9 does not have a program for Linux. For this reason, you may need to block Linux download sites.

There is a program called Virtual Box, which acts as a separate operating system on your computer. Whatever operating system is on Virtual Box should have k9 put on it too. You also have the option to block websites that offer downloads of Virtual Box.

Router Web Filter

For your router, use settings through openDNS to block categories and similar sites. Your individual router will also do this. This a good place to block sites for downloading Linux and Virtual Box.

Proxy sites are another issue. Basically, you ask another computer to access a website and then that computer gives you the website. Therefore, you have bypassed router blocks to access a website. Both k9 and openDNS block proxy sites, but they don't catch all of them. Proxy sites are constantly being set up and taken down. It just takes more time to find new proxy sites. That extra time allows you or someone else time to rethink the decision. (Proxy sites can be used in good ways in places where freedom of speech is limited.)

For Good or Bad

Overall, the internet is a neutral tool that can be used for good or bad. We can expand our minds, connect with others, telecommute with the internet. Or feed addictions, expose ourselves to criminals, and more. So protect yourself and others using these programs, so you can enjoy the good the internet has to offer.

What web filters, antivirus, and anti-spyware programs have worked for you?