Stories by Rick Broida

Gmail Without Web Access, Too Much Security

It's that time again--<a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/238644/reader_feedback_taskbar_tip_gmail_management_antivirus_help.html">reader Q&amp;A</a> time, that is. This week I answer questions on getting to Gmail messages when you don't have Internet access and how much security software is too much.

Rick Broida | 08 Sep | Read more

Don't Overload Your PC with Security Software

Reader Steve uses a program called Vipre Premium to keep his PC secure. The suite offers anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, a firewall, e-mail protection--basically, the works.But Steve also runs Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. And Microsoft Security Essentials (though with real-time protection turned off). Steve's question: should he turn on MSE's real-time protection and "run it concurrently with Vipre?"Short answer: no. Definitely not. In fact, I'd say Steve is running too much security software as it is. And that's a common mistake.For starters, the Vipre suite is more than sufficient. I can see keeping Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on hand just in case some infection sneaks through, but if you're using the Pro version--which, unlike its freebie sibling, offers real-time scanning--then it's competing with Vipre. In fact, when you overlap security products like that, they can seriously impact system performance and even falsely recognize each other as being a threat.My advice: keep your security tools to a bare minimum. In fact, if you're running Windows 7 (which Steve is), you're already adequately equipped to handle the majority of security threats. Windows 7 offers a solid firewall, and its built-in Windows Defender should block most spyware and pop-ups.Meanwhile, Internet Explorer 9 provides robust protection against phishing, malware, and other browser-related threats. (In fact, some tests have shown it to be <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/238104/study_internet_explorer_9_defends_best_against_malware_links.html">the safest browser</a>, period.) Cap that off with Microsoft Security Essentials and <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,73058-order,4/description.html">browser plug-in Web of Trust</a>, and you've got yourself a nearly bulletproof PC. (I speak from experience: that's my exact configuration, and I haven't had an infection of any kind, well, ever.)Bottom line: don't overdo the security software. Too much is not a good thing.Contributing Editor<a href="http://www.broida.com/"> Rick Broida</a> writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the<a href="http://forums.pcworld.com/"> PC World Community Forums</a>.

Rick Broida | 07 Sep | Read more

Password Management: Idiot-Proof Tips

Before the Internet, passwords played only a tiny role in everyday life. Think about it: Except for your ATM PIN, what important codes did you need to remember? Probably none. But now, you can’t click a link without hitting another site that requires a password. Doesn’t matter if it’s a big-name destination like Google Docs or Mint.com, or a smaller, more private site such as your local library or company intranet. You want in? Password, please.

Rick Broida | 03 Aug | Read more

Firefox tips, plus a warning: Protect those passwords

It's been a while since I've covered tips for my favorite browser, Mozilla Firefox tips (read "Quick Tips for Speeding Up Mozilla Firefox" for my last installment). So this week I thought I'd toss you a couple tips for scrolling through long Web pages in Firefox. But first -- a public service announcement.

Rick Broida | 09 Mar | Read more

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