Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Security tools

Security tools for your home computer

Thanks to a rising level of cyber-crime and the costs associated with it, the security software industry and interest groups are growing rapidly. The good news for you is that you don’t have to pay a lot to keep your personal computer secure. Many of these applications are free for home use.

Computer security applications

These applications are provided for home computer users only. They are not authorized to be installed on PCC computers. The license agreements do not support institutional use. Do not install these applications on a PCC computer without formal permission from IT.

If you cannot find what you need, try searching using your favorite Internet search engine.

Disclaimer: Portland Community College is not affiliated with the tools described herein or their authors. Further, the College is not responsible for their use, or loss or damages resulting from their use. These tools are provided by the vendors for private use. This page should not be construed as an endorsement for any particular vendor. PCC urges everyone to research the benefits and risks associated with any new piece of software. Please fully read, understand, and if possible, save the Terms of Use (TOU) that comes with the software before installing.

  • AVG Free Anti-Virus (Windows and Android Mobile OS)
    AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is trusted antivirus and anti-spyware protection for Windows available to download for free.
  • MS Security Essentials (Windows)
    Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
  • Sophos Anti-Virus For Mac Home Edition (Mac)
    Free full protection from malware. Deletes the threats on your Mac. Simple to install and use. This is a home version not supported or deployed by PCC.
  • WOT (Web of Trust)
    WOT is a community-based, free safe surfing tool for browsers that provides website ratings and risk levels to help web users as they search, surf and shop online. It is helpful when trying to avoid spoofed websites.
  • Spybot – Search and Destroy (Windows)
    Spybot – Search & Destroy detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat not yet covered by common anti-virus applications.
  • Ad-Aware Free 2008 (Windows)
    Tool that detects and safely removes advertising spyware from your system. Even if you have anti-virus on your home PC, Ad-Aware can find spyware that makes it through undetected.
  • KeyScrambler
    KeyScrambler encrypts your keystrokes, foiling keylogging attacks with scrambled, undecipherable data.
  • Comodo SecureEmail
    Protect, encrypt, and digitally sign your private email messages before sending.
Identity theft protection
  • AllClear ID
    AllClear ID is a free identity protection service. AllClear ID Free includes Internet surveillance, full identity repair if you discover any issues, and easy access to hands-on licensed fraud investigators. You can also upgrade to AllClear ID PRO at any time for maximum identity protection.

Both new Windows and Apple computers give you the option to encrypt your computer hard drive so that if it is stolen, the thief will not be able to steal information by copying the drive.

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption (Windows Vista and Windows 7)
    BitLocker Drive Encryption encrypts your Windows hard disk to help keep documents, passwords, and other important data safe. Once you turn on BitLocker, any file that you save on that drive is encrypted automatically.
  • Turning on FileVault (Apple OSX)
    You can turn on FileVault to encrypt the information in your home folder. Encryption scrambles the data in your home folder so that unauthorized users, applications, or utilities cannot access your data.
  • Free SafeHouse Explorer (Windows)
    Free encryption software for hard disks and USB flash drives makes your secret files completely invisible until you enter your password.
  • Comodo Disc Encryption (Windows XP)
    Encrypt all the private data stored on your PC to hide it from invaders and thieves.
Laptop protection and encryption
  • Eraser (Windows)
    Eraser allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.
  • Hotspot Shield (Windows, Mac, iPhone)
    Hotspot Shield protects your entire web surfing session; securing your connection at both your home Internet network & Public Internet networks (both wired & wireless). Hotspot Shield ensures that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads) are secured through HTTPS.
  • Prey (Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, Android OS)
    Track your missing laptop/smartphone. Prey lets you keep track of your phone or laptop at all times, and will help you find it if it ever gets lost or stolen. It’s lightweight, open source software, and free for anyone to use.
Backup and utility
  • How to back up files and recover Windows data
    This article covers the Backup and Restore feature in Windows 7 and in Windows Vista, which can help save you a lot of time and trouble.
  • How to back up and recover Mac data
    Learn how to set up Time Machine to perform backups, how to restore items (or your entire system) from a backup, how to use existing backups on a new Mac, and more.
  • Comodo Time Machine (Windows)
    Quickly restore your computer to an earlier point in time with Comodo Time Machine.
  • Comodo System Cleaner (Windows)
    Comodo System-Cleaner is a file cleaner, disk registry cleaner, and privacy cleaner.
  • Comodo Cloud Scanner (Windows)
    Scan your PC to identify malware, junk files, registry errors and hidden processes.
Useful tutorials from Apple and Microsoft
  • Setting up the Apple OSX firewall
    Mac OS X includes a firewall, a security measure that protects your computer from connections initiated by other computers when connected to a network or the Internet. If you turn on a sharing service, such as file sharing, Mac OS X opens a specific port for the service to communicate through
  • Preventing deleted files from being read
    Preventing deleted files from being read If the files you put in the Trash contain sensitive information, you can use Secure Empty Trash to overwrite that information so it can’t be retrieved
  • Turning on FileVault
    To overwrite the data on the hard drive when you empty the trash , select the “Use secure erase” checkbox.
  • Security checklist for Windows 7
    Use this checklist to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the ways that Windows can help keep your computer as secure and safe as possible.
  • Understanding Windows Firewall settings
    A firewall can help prevent hackers or malicious software (such as worms) from gaining access to your computer through a network or the Internet. A firewall can also help stop your computer from sending malicious software to other computers.
  • Reduce risk by enhancing security and control
    Windows 7 makes it easier and less intrusive to run your computer as a standard user instead of as an administrator. Windows introduced User Account Control, a feature that warned you when a program wanted to make a change on your computer.