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The purpose of the Home PC Firewall Guide is to provide easy access to basic information about, and independent, third-party reviews of Internet security and privacy products for home, telecommuter, and SOHO (small office, home office) end-users. For current security news, reviews and alerts, see our Internet Security News page.

The Wild West? The only way to make your computer completely secure is to turn it off or disconnect it from the Internet. The real issue is how to make your computer 99% secure when it is connected. Not having protection is like leaving your car running with the doors unlocked and the keys in it which a thief might interpret as "please steal me". Stated another way, when was the last time you handed a stranger your wallet and encouraged them to take your social security card, drivers license, cash and credit cards? Locking a car, using a "club" or installing a security system makes stealing a car more difficult. Internet security and privacy products provide adequate protection by making it difficult for "outlaws" to find and gain entry to your computer.

Bottom Line -- If a personal firewall is the sheriff, a posse is needed to help the sheriff capture the pests sent out by Internet outlaws like spyware, browser hijackers, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, phishing, spam and hybrids thereof. A layered approach is best to protect your security and privacy:

  • First line of defense -- Choose an Internet service provider (ISP), an email service and/or a website hosting service that offers online virus, spam and content filters.
  • Second line of defense -- Install a hardware router with a built in firewall between your modem and your computer or network.
  • Third line of defense -- Use personal firewall, anti-virus, anti-Trojan, anti-spyware, anti-spam and privacy software on your desktop computer and every computer on your network.
  • Important Tips -- After installing any security software, immediately check for updates at the vendor's website. After installing a firewall, use an online testing service to make sure that it is working correctly.

Site Description -- Our website pages are listed by popularity in the left column of each page. Links for site search, privacy policies, about us, awards, and contacting us are given at the bottom of each page.

  • Security Overview -- Read our write up on "layers of defense" based on reading hundreds of Internet security articles and product reviews. Look at our links to the best articles on Internet security issues.

  • Best Reviews -- These are the best reviews of Internet security products that we have been able to find online. Coverage includes personal firewalls, anti-virus, anti-Trojan, anti-spyware, spam stoppers, wired and wireless routers.

  • Internet Security Suite Reviews -- These products include a personal firewall, anti-virus, and other security, privacy and/or utility features in a single package -- eTrust EZ Armor, Freedom, F-Secure, McAfee, Norton, Panda, PC-cillin, Redcannon, Safeworld, System Mechanic Pro, and VCOM.

  • Internet Security Freeware -- You may not be able to get the best for free but there is good freeware available to help you deal with many Internet security needs -- personal firewalls, ad blocker, anti-spam, anti-virus, browser and email software alternatives, email encryption, password manager, spyware removal, firewall testing and software update services.

  • Personal Firewall Software Reviews -- Armor2Net, BlackICE, Bullguard, CheckIT, ConSeal, Deerfield, eSafe Desktop, 8Signs, eTrust EZ, Fireball, Firekeys, Firewall X-treme, Freedom, F-Secure, GuardWall. Hackersmacker, Hacker Stopper, HackTracer, InJoy, Internet Firewall 2000, Kaspersky, Kerio, Look'n'Stop, McAfee, Mindsoft, NeoWatch, Norman, Norton, Omniquad, Outpost, Panda, PC-cillinin, pcInternet Patrol, PC Viper, Preventon, Primedius, PrivateFirewall, SecurePoint, SecureUp, Steganos, Sphinx, SphinxWall, Surf Secret, Sygate, TermiNet, TGB:BOB, 3b, Tiny, Trustix, VirusMD, VisNetic, Webroot & ZoneAlarm.

  • Wired & Wireless Router Reviews -- Get networking, Internet connection sharing, and NAT (network address translation) or SPI (stateful packet inspection) firewall features using products from Dell, D-Link, Hawking, Linksys, Microsoft, NetGear, SMC, SonicWall, WatchGuard & Zyxel.

  • Firewall Testing -- Test your personal firewall online with Shields Up, Hackerwhacker and Security Space. After you install or update a firewall, the next step is to test it to make sure that it has been configured correctly.

  • Anti-Virus Software Reviews -- ISP filtering, email services, freeware, testing and anti-virus payware -- BitDefender, Command, eTrust EZ, NOD32, Norton, F-Prot, Kaspersky, MailDefense, McAfee VirusScan, Panda and PC-cillin.

  • Anti-Trojan Software Reviews -- Articles, testing, free removal tools, and anti-Trojan payware links -- BOClean, The Cleaner, PC DoorGuard, PestPatrol, Tauscan, Trojan Defense Suite (TDS-3), Trojan Hunter, Trojan Remover and Tiny Trojan Trap.

  • Anti-Spyware Software Reviews -- Articles, resource sites and software links -- Ad-aware, SpyBot Search & Destroy, SpyBlocker and SpywareBlaster.

  • Anti-Spam Software Reviews -- Articles and product links -- ChoiceMail One, iHateSpam, Qurb, SpamAssassin Pro, SpamCatcher, SpamKiller & Spamnix.

  • Security & Privacy Software Reviews -- Articles and links for a variety of Internet security and privacy software tools available to prevent and fix browser hijacking, manage passwords, fill online forms, block email virus scripts, manage cookies, detect web bugs, filter content for kids, encrypt outgoing email, remove scumware, clean temporary browser files, block outgoing private information, and block ads (banner, pop-up & pop-under).

  • Tighten Windows -- Links to the best Internet security web sites suitable for home and SOHO end users that offer specific check lists and directions on how to secure your computer or small network.

  • Installing Security Products -- A step-by-step guide to installing Internet security products. It is a lot of work the first time, but the payoff is a clean, fast and secure computer system.

  • Secure Website & Email Hosting -- When selecting a website host or email provider, you should consider the security features offered such as server hardware firewalls, virus and spam filters.

  • Broadband -- Internet connection locking devices, DSL Internet service providers (ISP) with networking and security services, and broadband resource sites.

  • Networking Software Reviews -- Using a hardware router is a better choice for most home and SOHO users. We provide links for Microsoft Internet connection sharing (ICS), Sygate Home Network, WinGate, WinProxy, and WinRoute networking software.

  • PDA Security Reviews -- We hope that you never, ever lose your PDA, but if you do, you should make sure that no one can steal your identity, use your credit cards, or open your files.

  • Macintosh Security Reviews -- Articles and links for personal firewalls, anti-virus, and networking.

  • Linux & BSD Links -- If you are interested in Linux and/or BSD, we provide links to resources to get you started.

  • Webmaster 101 -- A beginners how-to guide based on our experience setting up and running this site.


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