You probably know that your online security is important. But are you using the right tools? Various online attacks target computers every minute of the day, and while standard antivirus tools are good, they’re not designed to cover every base.
The following free security tools will help you to improve your system and network security. You’ve probably never heard of them, but they’re vital to your ongoing online security.
Whether you use an all-encompassing online security suite or nothing at all, it’s worth installing these tools and seeing how they can help you:
InSpectre: Checks your PC for the Spectre bug.
Angry IP Scanner: Checks your network for unauthorized access and bandwidth hogs. Download: Angry IP Scanner
With over 23 million downloads and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Angry IP Scanner is a must-have tool if you have a router in your home.
Free and open source, Angry IP Scanner will scan local networks, using an IP range that you specify. IP addresses are then pinged, and data gathered about each responding device. The results of a scan can be output to a text file (as well as XML and CSV), which may prove useful later.
For instance, it will tell you what devices are on your network. If you suspect a neighbor of “wardriving“, you’ll have the evidence. After all, it isn’t too difficult for a neighbor to pop around and sneak a look at your network key…
Cybereason RansomFree: Scans your PC for ransomware activity. Download: RansomFree
You’ve heard of ransomware, right? It’s a nasty type of malware that locks your system, encrypts your data, and forces you to pay money if you want access to it again. This puts everything on your computer (and perhaps your cloud storage data too) out of your reach. It can be potentially disastrous, particularly for anyone who has important documents or photos on their computer.
In many cases, paying the ransom will actually unlock your data as promised, but scammers don’t always play fair. While some ransomware strains have been defeated with ransomware removal tools, not all of them have—so it’s vital to stay ahead of the game.
RansomFree from Cybereason “protects against 99 percent of ransomware strains,” according to the website. These include Bad Rabbit, NotPetya, and WannaCry. Available for Windows 7 and later, RansomFree creates “canary” files which detect ransomware behavior. These are placed in areas where ransomware usually starts, and blocks ransomware from encrypting your data. Happily, it is designed to work alongside other security software.
When you’re browsing the web, it isn’t only the sites you visit that attempt to communicate with your browser. Adverts, analytics, social networks, and more are also tracking you. With the Disconnect browser add-on, you can find out what is tracking you, and act upon it.
By visualizing and blocking sites that track you, Disconnect can make your browser 44 percent faster. More importantly, it can help you become more secure online. While we wouldn’t encourage that you block any adverts, Disconnect can block invisible trackers that aren’t affiliated with ad networks or social networks. These are the ones you need to beware of.
Disconnect features a graphical whitelisting option to ensure the content you want to see can still be downloaded. The same screen lets you block social network, and anonymous trackers.
Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit: Removes dangerous rootkits, and repairs the damage they cause. Download: Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit
Rootkits can be extremely dangerous: powerful malware that can close antivirus software, give an attacker admin privileges and complete control of your system, rootkits work at the hardware level.
This means that they can take control of your system BIOS, as well as the operating system. Few solutions are available to deal with rootkits, but of those that can help, you should always start with Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit (MBAR). After installation, MBAR will scan your computer and find threats. The Cleanup button will instruct the tool to deal with any threats, which will take place while the computer reboots.
Currently listed as beta software, Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit isn’t yet fully supported by the developers. However, if you’re concerned about rootkits, this is the place to start.
Here’s what you need to know about each of these important tools and why you should be using them in addition to whatever security tools you’re already using.
Are you truly as secure as you think you are? Your home network has vulnerabilities you don’t know about. The Spectre bug could hit your devices unexpectedly. And online activity always comes with a risk of contracting malware. It’s overwhelming!
These tools are free, straightforward to use, and can save you a lot of trouble. Install them alongside an effective VPN.