While Symantec's Norton set of security applications are the best known products in the genre, current concerns about mobile, desktop, and network security have spawned an array of software tools. These range from simple virus checkers to full-fledged suites, offering firewalls, privacy tools, anti-spam and anti-phishing apps, and a host of others. It's getting difficult to choose among this panoply of products, and so we've assembled all our recent reviews of security software.
It's no longer a matter of simply popping in your virus-checker and relaxing. If you want to be sure that your system is safe, you need a firewall (did you really think XP SP2 was enough?), a spyware checker, and privacy checks, to begin with. If your users don't have a clue, then anti-spam, anti-phishing, and IM security features are a necessity. If you've got a home office, and the kids have a habit of surfing when you're not around, then parental controls are in order. We've looked at a few all-in-one packages.
Norton Internet Security 2006
Symantec’s latest security suite tries to be a jack-of-all-trades, but it may be only a master of a few.
Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security
This do-all security suite offers solid protection against malware wrapped in a well-designed interface.
Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm Security Suite is a clean, neat, light-on-its-feet suit of armor built around what is arguably the best software firewall currently available for consumers and small businesses.
Norton Internet Security 2005, AntiSpyware Edition
Symantec has added a new application, Norton Spyware Protection, to its Norton Internet Security 2006 mega suite, which already contained Norton AntiVirus, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton Privacy Control, Norton AntiSpam, and Norton Parental Control.
Unfortunately, spyware seems to be getting a lot better at what it does -- finding new and more efficient ways of squirming into your system, accessing your information, slowing down your computer, and in general making your life a lot harder. There are a variety of free and low-cost anti-spyware tools available to keep this nuisance at bay.
Tenebril Inc.'s SpyCatcher 2006 takes an unusual approach to looking for possible nastyware by incorporating what the company calls "contextual analysis" to "shield PCs from next-generation, mutating spyware." It's an interesting-sounding approach that, by casting a wide net, ends up dumping a lot of fish on the deck, some of which may be perfectly healthy.
Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.4
Spybot - Search & Destroy has been unearthing keyloggers, trackers, hijackers, cookies and other adware and spyware for years, so an update is big news. The new version is faster than its predecessor, with a more professional, aesthetically appealing, and less confusing interface than predecessors.
Other Security Software
There are a variety of other types of security products available for independent systems, and for wireless/wired networks.
McAfee Secures The Home WLAN
McAfee's new $49.99 Wireless Home Network Security provides strong security, ease of use, and compatibility across several major brands of routers and interface cards along with a great feature, an automatic key rotation, that is typically found on higher-end WLAN security products.
Hot Apps: GhostSurf 2005
Anonymizing offers a valuable layer of protection by routing your communication through a third-party proxy server that substitutes its Internet address for yours before forwarding your packets to the intended destination. GhostSurf has been the best choice for moderately experienced surfers for a while now.
Anonymizer For Safe, Mobile Firefox Browsing
Anonymizer has morphed into a series of services that are comparatively simple, can be controlled from within Firefox and that protect your identity and data while no matter where you are, including hotspots.