Security for Windows 7
Windows 7 is MUCH more secure than Windows XP or even Windows Vista. This is good news if you are using Windows 7, but it doesn't mean you can relax and forget about security.
In fact you need to be more diligent than ever as the evil doers on the web always seem to be one step ahead of the even the most security conscious folks, including those who design and maintain those security programs we rely on to keep us safe.
While there are numerous free security programs that do a great job, and even more paid security programs that do a great job. (If you do online banking I urge you to consider a paid suite like ESET Smart Security.)
Since Windows 7 is much safer, the hackers are now targeting our programs as well as Windows. They find security holes in the programs we all use on Windows. Microsoft patches the holes in Windows, but not the holes in our programs! (You do keep Windows updated, don't you?)
So now we have to update our programs as well as Windows. Some of these programs include Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Java and the list goes on and on.
You can set your Windows to automatically update. On most Windows 7 systems this is already set for you. It's a good thing as a lot of folks would never bother to update otherwise.
Now what about all of those other programs with security holes? Do you even know what programs on your computer have those holes and whether or not they can be fixed?
Nobody said it would be easy to keep it all updated, but help for those programs, at least the ones we know about, is on the way.
Secunia PSI is as necessary as that virus/spyware scanner for me. It updates itself, scans my computer looking for programs with recent patches available and even updates most of them without intervention from me. Sometimes it finds a program that must be manually updated. Those programs generally are not free and may require purchasing a newer version. If you don't want to purchase a newer version you can either uninstall it or tell Secunia to hide it.
(Another highly recommended program is Soluto. I have not used Soluto, so I really can't say how well it performs, but it is supposed to do a lot of other stuff as well, like shorten your boot time and warn you if you have hardware problems.)
Get WOT! (Web of Trust) It's available for most browsers and will let you know while searching if that site is safe.
Java also has big security holes and Homeland Security has warned users to disable Java. Apparently there are so many holes in Java, it may take as long as two years to fix them all. Unless you really need Java, it is advisable to just uninstall it. At the very least, disable Java in your browser. This site tells you how. You can also disable Java from the Control Panel. This method should disable Java from all browsers. (Check your browser to make sure!)
You have to remember, the most important security solution is the one sitting in front of your computer, that's you!