Free Computer Security Software

How likely is it that you could fall victim to a cybercrime? Consumer Reports says in the last two years, one in five people were victimized.

Lawrence Robreno knows the misery of having his identity stolen.

"They pretended they were me, calling up, making phone calls with my name, using my credit card, my information," said Robreno.

Like more than a million others in the last year, he had his identity stolen while shopping online.

"They started out small in 15,25, dollar increments, and they slowly increased. I tallied it up to somewhere close to $25,000," Robeno said.

Consumer Reports' Dean Gallea cautions only shop at sites you trust.

And it's essential to protect your computer from spyware, viruses, and spam by installing security software.

Consumer Reports tested security suites costing between $50-$90. But Dean found free security software that's on par with the best.

To fight viruses: AnitVir from Free-AV.com.

To prevent spyware: Windows Defender from Microsoft.com.

And to stop spam: Spamfighter Standard from Spamfighter.com

You also want to protect against phishing. These emails look like they come from banks and other companies, bu are actually lures to gain access to your accounts.

"Never click on links in e-mails that go to banks or other sites that have your personal information," said Dean Gallea of Consumer Reports.

Instead, type the company's Web address into your browser.

And for more protection, Consumer Reports recommends downloading free anti-phishing software, such as the McAfee Site Advisor, which warns when you go to a dangerous site.

Consumer Reports says Apple computer are more likely to be attacked by viruses and spyware.

But since Macs can transmit infected files to Windows PCs even within a home network, Consumer Reports recommends installing an antivirus program, such as Norton Antivirus Eleven for Mac. It costs $50.


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