Security software explained

Internet security software helps protect your computer from a series of security threats.

It is estimated that nearly 40% of internet users do not take appropriate action to secure their computers from malicious software.

It is estimated that nearly 40% of internet users do not take appropriate action to secure their computers from malicious software. This complacency leaves open a huge breeding ground for hackers to exploit when releasing their viruses into the wild. Internet security software helps protect your computer from these internet nasties. It usually contains several types of protection in one: a firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam functions.

We look at some of the key components in the fight against malicious software.


A virus is any software designed to harm your computer files, software and/or data. Anti-virus software protects your computer from virus, worm and trojan infections by monitoring system processes and scanning files as they are accessed or downloaded. Though this systematic approach may sound intensive, it is usually accomplished in a relatively quiet manner. Most users are unaware of the anti-virus activity until a problem has been found. When an infection is detected, anti-virus software will give you the option to either ignore, permanently delete, move to a secure ‘vault’ or to repair the files in question. It is arguably the most important component of your internet security and, as such, should be updated frequently.


Some software suites and programs contain hidden files that monitor your internet usage and surfing habits. Programs that record data, whether for legitimate or illegal purposes without your knowledge, are known as spyware. For legitimate software titles, this data can be used for future marketing plans. However, for hackers these programs represent a simple and effective way to harvest your personal and private data. Anti-spyware removes these security threats and, in some suites, prevents them from being installed on your machine.

Personal firewall

A robust firewall is an essential component of your internet security plan and often the best defense against hackers and their malicious software. Firewalls monitor all incoming and outgoing communications between your computer and the internet. A good firewall can prevent worms, bots and Trojans from deploying their payloads through your machine or, at the very least, isolate an infection and stop it from spreading to other users on your network.


Spam emails continue to plague inboxes despite a growing number of security suites that have been installed on email servers as a first line of defence. In its mildest form, spam is a nuisance but at its worst it can load numerous security threats on to your computer such as trojans, viruses, spyware and worms without the user ever being aware or taking any action to install it. Spam filters check all incoming emails for suspicious content and divert them to a special folder, designed to either contain these internet threats or to delete infected files before they can ever be installed.

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