Top Windows client security tools for end users

Tony Bradley helps narrow down the field of client security tools on the market and gives his top four picks.

Sometimes it seems like there are more security tools and appliances available than there are threats to use them against. A quick search of a major computer retail Web site brings up 25 variations of antivirus programs, 101 choices for firewalls and a whopping 313 different options for an intrusion detection system (IDS). Sometimes it might seem easier to just let the attacks come and respond to the incidents as they arise rather than taking the time to evaluate and compare the different options to find the tools that are right for you.

Of course, you can narrow down the options quite a bit just by doing some research and reading some reviews. Finding out what experts think, or, more importantly, what other companies similar to yours have chosen, can help significantly when choosing the right security tools.

To jumpstart your search, lets take a look at these top picks for best Windows client security tools:

  1. BitDefender 9 Antivirus
    While it doesn't have the name recognition of Symantec or McAfee, BitDefender 9 out-performs both of them and all others. It is competitively priced and has a relatively simple, intuitive interface.
  2. Webroot Spy Sweeper 4.5
    Viruses and worms have seniority as the top dogs of malware, but spyware has spiked over the past couple of years and now challenges them for malware supremacy. Spyware has become more insidious and is used as a tool for deploying other malicious software such as Trojan Horse programs or keystroke loggers. It is essential that computers on your network be spyware free, and Webroot's Spy Sweeper 4.5 is the best product available when it comes to catching and blocking spyware threats.
  3. Sysinternals RootkitRevealer
    Rootkits continue to grow as an emerging threat for Windows PCs. By definition, a good rootkit runs undetected in the background on a compromised PC and allows an attacker to gain access, execute software and hide or erase their tracks. RootkitRevealer is a great tool for scanning your computer to make sure it hasn't been '0wn3d' by an attacker. Sysinternals' parent company, Winternals, was purchased by Microsoft, but the Sysinternals utilities are still available for free.
  4. Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)
    After much media coverage and a lengthy beta-testing process, Microsoft's IE7 is now available to the public. IE7 has many security improvements over previous versions of Internet Explorer, which makes it a clear choice for securing and protecting computers that connect to the Web. With anti-phishing technology, better control over ActiveX applets and a slew of other improvements, IE7 makes Web surfing much safer.

About the author: Tony Bradley is a consultant and writer with a focus on network security, antivirus and incident response. He is recognized by Microsoft as an MVP in Windows Security, and he is the About.com Guide for Internet / Network Security, providing a broad range of information security tips, advice and reviews. Bradley is co-author of Hacker's Challenge 3 and author of Essential Computer Security. He also contributes frequently to other industry publications. For a complete list of his freelance contributions, visit S3KUR3.com.

This was last published in November 2008

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