Don’t even consider connecting to the internet without security software to protect your personal information and files. You don’t need to hand over large amounts of money to ensure your machine is secure; there are plenty of programs available on the internet that will offer a range of security and protection.
AVG Anti-Virus offers anti-virus protection, although the free version doesn’t include spyware, spam or firewall protection. It will scan files and programs as they’re opened and has automatic updates, but comes without technical support.
Spybot Search & Destroy scans and removes spyware from your computer. It’s compatible with Windows operating systems and there are versions for personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smartphones that run the Windows Mobile or Symbian operating systems.
ZoneAlarm Basic is a free firewall program that monitors outgoing and incoming traffic through your computer to prevent viruses and other nasties from being unintentionally installed on your machine. The free version is buried within the site, however. Click on the Home & Home Office tab and follow the ZoneAlarm link to find the download window.