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What are the Different Types of PC Security Software?

By Contel Bradford
Updated May 16, 2024
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In an Internet-driven world, the use of personal computer (PC) security software no longer is an option, but typically is a priority. This is true in the home as well as in the corporate networking environment. With the threat model constantly changing, preventative measures are evolving in order to provide an adequate level of protection. Due to this evolution, new types of PC security software have been introduced and their usage has become increasingly important.

Anti-virus software usually is a must-have solution that perhaps is the most commonly used PC security software. This type of application performs a scan of a computer in search of malicious programs and code, matching those items with the list of known threats in its database. Any threats detected automatically are removed from the system, which typically repairs any damage the threats may have caused. These programs are very useful as they can help keep a computer protected from malicious Web content and better assure the optimal performance of a PC. The best Internet security software not only will defend against viruses, but against other threats such as worms, Trojans, and spyware, as well.

File security software aims to provide protection for the files and folders stored on a computer. This usually is accomplished by using a cryptographic technology used to secure data, commonly called encryption. Encryption works by transforming plain text into cipher that makes the file contents unreadable to unauthorized parties. The only way an encrypted file or folder can be accessed is with the use of the appropriate decryption key. This type of PC security software is particularly useful for those who share computers and would prefer to keep their files confidential.

Password security software can be a critical tool that helps keep a computer user protected from fraud and identity theft. Most applications allow a user to create a single master password that can be used to login to a bank’s Website, Web mail, blog, and other accounts they may have online. The software typically uses the same encryption technology as file security software to ensure that passwords cannot be easily guessed or cracked. These programs usually are widely available in the form of commercial products as well as free, open-source software.

Computer users who do not install and regularly use PC security software generally are leaving themselves open to a wide range of threats. While these solutions are not necessarily cheap, they can provide a peace of mind that is simply invaluable. With so many products on the market, consumers are strongly encouraged to read Internet security software reviews before making a purchase. This should give a user an idea of what to expect, and help assure them that they are getting the best protection possible.

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Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Feb 10, 2014

What is fascinating is that antivirus software is rare on Linux systems. Is that because Linux is that secure or is it because virus writers tend to target Windows, which is the ridiculously dominant operating system on the planet?

This topic has been debated for years. Is Microsoft Windows a target of viruses because it's not as secure as Linux or Mac OS X or is it because so few people use anything other than Windows to make it a waste of time for virus writers to target anything else?

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