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30+ Free Security, Encryption, Firewall and Antivirus Apps for Windows

30+ Free Security, Encryption, Firewall and Antivirus Apps for Windows

    It’s hard to maintain a secure, virus-free Windows set-up. The Internet is like a minefield, where a poorly protected computer can become infected by all sorts of virii or allow malicious individuals to tinker with your hard drive’s contents, or worse, your operating system itself.

    Don’t waste any time getting your Windows computer secured. You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars to do this — and if you have a computer that’s not secured already, you may be unaware that not all free software is malicious. In fact, free, open source software makes up a huge chunk of the software ecosystem today, Firefox being one prevalent example.

    Which reminds me—if you’re using Internet Explorer, the first step is to grab Firefox, get rid of IE, and come back to this page in your new browser.

    Security isn’t about blocking malicious actions, it’s about keeping your data safe. While much of that is about keeping virii or hackers out, it’s also about keeping backups so hardware failure, natural disasters or malicious attacks don’t destroy your primary copy for good.

    1. TrueCrypt – free open source disk encryption that works in real-time.

    2. GnuPG – a free open source alternative to PGP, the public key encryption software.

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    3. Steganos Locknote – allows you to encrypt your sensitive data such as bank account details and account passwords as Locknotes.

    4. AntiVir is anti-virus software that features a resident background monitor and a manual hard drive scanner.

    5. AVG Free features a resident background monitor, manual hard drive scanner, continuous email scanner, and the ability to repair files affected by virii.

    6. avast! is a free anti-virus comparable to AVG, though it requires you register an account with the company in order to use the software.

    7. ZoneAlarm Firewall is an effective stand-alone program including the firewall component of the larger commercial offering, ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite.

    8. Filseclab Personal Firewall Professional Edition is another free personal firewall, albeit with a somewhat contradictory name.

    9. Windows Privacy Tools is a collection of apps for digital encryption and content signing. Multilingual.

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    10. Online Armor Personal Firewall (Free Edition) is a free personal firewall alternative to Online Armor’s commercial applications.

    11. Cryptainer LE is free 128-bit encryption software from Cypherix.

    12. Comodo Firewall Pro is a free personal firewall with a built-in anti-virus scanner.

    13. Adeona is a free open source application for tracking your stolen laptop.

    14. RISING Antivirus is free anti-virus software with resident background monitoring and on-demand scanning.

    15. WIPFW is a packet filtering and account firewall based on FreeBSD’s IPFW.

    16. CryptoExpert 2008 Lite protects your data by creating files that serve as encrypted virtual disks.

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    17. Comodo doesn’t just offer a free firewall, it offers a free virus-squasher too.

    18. PC Tools offers a free anti-virus application among its group of commercial programs.

    19. E4M is a free, open source encryption application. While it’s no longer supported by the developer, it is still available for download.

    20. SoftPerfect Personal Firewall is another free network firewall with user-defined rules for blocking or accepting incoming connections.

    21. Darik’s Boot and Nuke is a boot disk that’ll allow you to securely erase your hard drives, ensuring nobody can recover your credit card details after they find your drive at the dump.

    22. Secure Delete allows you to securely delete a file or folder (rather than your whole hard drive) by trashing your selection and then overwriting it with random data, making it unrecoverable.

    23. Dubaron DiskImage is a hard drive backup and partition restore application.

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    24. Forensic Aquisition Utilities includes tools to perform a secure system wipe so that data becomes unrecoverable.

    25. Jetico Personal Firewall is a free personal firewall that’s better than most other options if you have an older system, that is, earlier than Windows XP.

    26. Eraser is a secure data eraser for all Windows operating systems and even DOS.

    27. SelfImage allows you to make an exact copy of your hard drive in a disk image for later backup.

    28. SDelete is a free secure delete application for the command line from Microsoft themselves.

    29. SunbeIt Personal Firewall is the rebranded version of the very popular Kerio Personal Firewall (there’s a free and a commercial version).

    30. Autoclave, while no longer supported by its developer, is still useful because it’s a secure disk wiper that you can run from a floppy disk.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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