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Use These Security Tools to Protect your Browsing Experience from Attack

The best security tools to protect your files, web browsing, and passwords.

Apps in this Guide

Before "always-on" high-speed Internet became common, our computers weren't automatically networked whenever we turned them on. Now that they are, you should have an extra layer of security to keepmore

Before "always-on" high-speed Internet became common, our computers weren't automatically networked whenever we turned them on. Now that they are, you should have an extra layer of security to keep your files, web browsing, and passwords private and safe. Let's show you what the best tools are for Windows Internet security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have good Internet security for free?
Unless it's a nonprofit project relying on donations, as with the Tor Browser, or funded by ads as with Gmail, the product has to make money somehow. You may be safe with Avira Antivirus Free, but a subscription-based security suite like Norton or McAfee tends to have slightly but consistently better detection and protection, thanks to more advanced research funded by those subscriptions.
What features are important for good Internet security?
Ease of use: Security software can do complex things, but it doesn't have to be complex to use. Ideally, as with the Tor Browser, it does its magic in the background, allowing you to keep your attention on your task. No hard sells: If the security tool has free and paid versions, you want the sales pitch to be low-key. Sometimes product marketing gets integrated into the interface in a way that can trick you into paying for something that you don't need. Or the interface uses alarming language or imagery to imply that you're not reasonably safe until you pay for a particular service.
How private or secure can I be on the Internet?
Anonymity and utility usually can't be combined. For example, you can use the Tor Browser for its encrypted connection that masks your physical location, but if you log into a Google service with which you've associated a home address, or you post something to your Instagram page that contains clues about where you are, the veil is pulled back. You can have a dozen antivirus programs installed on your PC, but if you go to a sketchy website to download and install sketchy software, you can still get a virus. You privacy and security are only as good as your online habits let them be.

The best security tools to protect your privacy

Best Internet Security Utility: LastPass

Best Internet Security Utility: LastPass

Passwords are a pain. Good ones are hard to remember, so you have to write them down on something that could be lost, damaged, or stolen. Or you use mental tricks that other people could figure out. But there's a Door No. 3: Password manager apps like LastPass, which create hard-to-guess passwords and enter them for you. All you need to remember is the master password used to access your library of online accounts -- which you can protect with two-factor authentication. With 2FA, even someone who guesses your master password still needs your PIN code to confirm authorization, which changes every 30 seconds. Have a fingerprint sensor on your phone? You can also use that instead of your master password, when it's time to impress your friends and neighbors.

Best Browser for Internet Security: Tor Browser

Best Browser for Internet Security: Tor Browser

The Tor Browser is derived from Mozilla Firefox and bounces your connection to the Internet around a network that masks identity. This pipeline also has strong encryption, so your Internet service provider can't see where you're going, either. It can only see that you're connecting to the Tor network. At the same time, the browser's privacy is easy to use. It starts up automatically every time you open it.

Best free option: Avira Free Antivirus

Best free option: Avira Free Antivirus

It doesn't perform quite as well as Norton or McAfee, but Avira is a respectable competitor if you need to stretch your dollar. Unlike most other free antivirus software, it doesn't push you to upgrade to the paid version, nor does the sales pitch overstate the amount of protection it gives you.