Chances are, when you need a security suite you first look to the big players: Symantec, Kaspersky, McAfee, or Trend Micro. But Check Point's ZoneAlarm Extreme Security is a full suite that offers protection on a par with those brands: In independent tests, ZoneAlarm managed almost-perfect protection, excellent performance, and just one false positive.
Network security is a topic that makes many people's eyes glaze over, and I can't blame them. We all rationally know that we should make sure our information is secure, but for most of us actually doing so is probably one step below flossing, or keeping track of our receipts.
With all the NSA hooplah this past year, and mounting concerns over user security, it's not surprising that you might want to shield certain of your files from prying eyes. You can use any of a number of overly complicated solutions, including Terminal commands and expensive consultants, but software developer MacPaw wants to make it a bit easier for the average person with Hider 2 (Mac App Store link). Hider 2's normal price is $20, but MacPaw is currently offering the app for an introductory price of $10.
Password Safe has an excellent pedigree: The original version of this password database was designed by security expert Bruce Schneier. The current version follows the design path laid down in the early 2000s--and that's a problem, because user needs have moved on.
Small business owners often believe their companies are immune to cybercrime. After all, why would criminals bother with guppies when they can net a whale, right? Wrong. Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, because they typically lack the security monitoring and management capabilities of larger companies.
Firewalls underpin the security of any network, controlling the flow of data in and out. Where once they were simple in premise and execution, today they are just one component of a collection of services to monitor, track, limit and sometimes alter data to ensure the security of a network.
The best security suites are the ones you never notice, because they work silently in the background. But when you want to dig into the settings, you'll appreciate dealing with a well-designed user interface that even a novice can understand.
Norton Internet Security 2014 ($80 for one year of protection on up to three PCs) looks great--and it offers excellent protection against all threats. Internet Security 2014 also provides mobile security, comprehensive parental controls, and system insights, so advanced users can track their PCs' performance. But Symantec's suite isn't perfect: Its menus, settings, and features are geared a little more toward advanced users than toward security newbies.
McAfee Internet Security 2014 ($56 for one year of protection on up to three PCs) offers adequate protection and an intuitive interface. The installation process can be a chore, and finding specific settings can be difficult, but its main shortcoming is that it offers fewer features than some of McAfee's other products, despite its higher price.
The name Vipre Internet Security 2014 sounds impressive. But this security suite ($50 for two years of protection on one PC) offers merely adequate protection, and its interface needs a makeover.
AVG Internet Security 2014 ($55 for one year of protection on one computer) is a decent security suite that gives adequate protection and adds little weight to your system. In our real-world testing scenario, the suite protected against 98 percent of all unknown (zero-day) attacks. It did an even better job of protecting against known malware, repelling 99 percent of those attacks. Still, half of the ten security suites in our roundup blocked 100 percent of zero-day threats, and all but three blocked 100 percent of known malware attacks.
Looking for ironclad protection? F-Secure Internet Security 2014 ($80 for the "lifetime" of your PC--up to seven years) is bulletproof, ranking among the best performers in AV-Test's protection assessments. But its interface is another story: If you don't think user-friendliness matters, wait until you see this suite.
Avast is a company perhaps best known for its free antivirus software. But paying for Avast Internet Security 2014 ($40 for one year of protection on one PC) will get you such premium features as a robust firewall, online banking security, and phishing and scam email protection.
You too need a password manager, and if you're not yet using one, you should. A good password manager makes it simple to securely store your most important information, and access it whenever and wherever you need it. An excellent password manager is both easy to use and secure, with smart cross-platform features that streamline your password usage without compromising your safety. KeePass does this, LastPass does this, and so does Dashlane. The new F-Secure Key's challenge is to do it better.
A guard dog is only as valuable as the alarms he sounds. The latest version of WinPatrol, a handy security utility that serves as a virtual guard dog for your PC, drives this point home. WinPatrol 2013 still alerts you when changes are made to your PC, but does so less frequently...so when it does bark, you sit up and take notice.
You are being stalked, right now, at this very moment. And by that, I mean your personal information is considered a very hot commodity among people you have never even met.
In a sphere that changes as rapidly as security, it's no surprise that 'endpoint' as a definition is fluid. It is so new a sphere in the IT arsenal that not even the players who field endpoint products can agree on where the borders begin and end -- though naturally it encompasses their own core competency.
Canadian developer AgileBits has always positioned its 1Password password management software as a premium product, focusing on a combination of performance, portability, and ease of use to command a premium price and develop a significant following. Such continues to be the case with 1Password 4 for Mac (Mac App Store link), which the company released at the beginning of October.
Antivirus programs used to be simple: They protected your PC from malware, viruses, and suspicious Internet sites, and that was that. But now we're using multiple devices--often interchangeably--and we're trusting our data to the cloud. What's a security company to do?
If you like to keep your information private, there's never been a better time to save that info on your Mac and iOS devices: The Apple market is chock-full of products that help you securely store--and easily retrieve--everything from passwords to credit-card numbers, including one, dubbed iCloud Keychain, that Apple itself is busy baking right into OS X and iOS.
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Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).
- Have an incident response plan.
- Pre-define your incident response team
- Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.
- Pre-distribute call cards.
- Forensic and incident response data capture.
- Get your users on-side.
- Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement.
- Practice makes perfect.
I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.