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15 fabulous, free PC security programs

Safeguard your PC with our free downloads

Turn on your PC and you're immediately vulnerable. Protect yourself for free today with PC Advisor's favourite 15 free security tools.

Safer surfing

From firewalls and antivirus software to tools for combating rootkits and spyware, here are some great downloads that will protect your system against malicious attacks.

McAfee SiteAdvisor

siteadvisor.com

Unlike the real world, it can be hard to recognise a bad online neighbourhood. There are no boarded-up windows, no empty storefronts, no hard-looking men lounging on corners or in doorways. The most inviting website can harbour all kinds of malware.

That's where the McAfee SiteAdvisor comes in. It warns you when a website that you're about to visit – or are already visiting – may be dangerous.

You install it as an IE toolbar or as a Firefox plug-in. Then, when you search with Google or some other search engine, it displays colour-coded icons next to each search result, indicating whether the site in question is safe (green), questionable (yellow) or clearly unsafe (red). Download SiteAdvisor here.

LinkScanner Lite

www.explabs.com

This is another good tool for determining whether a website harbours dangerous content. Open LinkScanner Lite and type in a site URL. The utility checks the site for dangerous scripts, bad downloads and other hazardous content. It also warns you about phishing sites and other potentially fraudulent online operations.

LinkScanner integrates with search sites much as Site Advisor does, putting icons next to search results to indicate whether or not they are dangerous. Unlike Site Advisor, though, it doesn't check whether sites harbour adware or spyware. Download Linkscanner lite here.

McAfee and LinkScanner

McAfee and LinkScanner

Internet Threat Meter

www.symantec.com

Every day, it seems, new online threats are unleashed. Symantec's Internet Threat Meter keeps you informed about the latest arrivals and includes a link to a Symantec site, where you can get more information and find fixes.

The program runs as a nifty little widget in XP or as a Sidebar Gadget in Vista, gathering data and reporting the results. Download Internet Threat Meter here.

HijackThis

www.spywareinfo.com

As our antispyware reviews show, no single antispyware program can detect and eradicate all spyware.

For full protection, add HijackThis to your arsenal. It thoroughly analyses your Registry and file settings before creating a log file of its results. Upload the log to the HijackThis website and ask the community there (very nicely) to analyse it for you. Download HijackThis here.

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