Everyone wants to know that their children are safe on the internet, as well as sensitive information; such as credit card numbers. Cases of stolen identity through computer viruses and phishing are increasing every day. To try and serve you better in this area, we have compiled a list of free services and programs to help keep your information and children safe on the internet. For each service or program, you may access information by clicking the banner. Also provided are links to download the product, if available.
Software to monitor and protect your child's activity online or set up accountability between yourself and a teenager, spouse, or friend.
McGruff SafeGuard is free software and web services that intelligently monitors kids' internet activity, including website visits, chat, and instant messaging, search engine phrases, and social network profiles on MySpace, Facebook, and many others. The Service alerts parents to problems such as Internet predators, dangerous behavior, underage/illicit sexual activity, suicide, drug use, credit card abuse, and crime. Click here to visit their website.
x3watch is a website accountability program, with both a pay version and a free version. The program is installed on the machine to be monitored and set up to send emails out once every two weeks to report on any pornographic/adult sites visited. This program is often used to help people who are addicted to pornography, but also as accountability between teenage children and their parents. To download x3watch now, click here.
Most home users utilize Internet Explorer to browse the internet. What most users don't know, however, is that Internet Explorer is built into the Windows Operating System, so it often has the same vulnerabilities as the Operating System when it comes to security. By switching to another browser while surfing the internet, you will find that you cut down your risk of downloading viruses and malware.
Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are free browser solutions. It allows for safer browsing of the internet, both for simple users, as well as advanced users who want a customized solution. It offers many free add-ons to easily install. To download Firefox now, click here. To download Google Chrome, click here.
Adblock Plus is an add-on to Google Chrome and Firefox web browsers that block often-times malicious advertisements. Not only does it block malicious and annoying software, but it also decreases the load time of websites that have advertisements on them. Adblock Plus can only be used in conjunction with Google Chrome or Firefox. To add Adblock Plus to your Google Chrome or Firefox browser, click here.
Computer Virus Protection
In this day in age, it is absolutely necessary to run virus protection software on any Windows PC. Here are two programs that offer free versions of their virus protection service. Please remember to only pick one; you should only run one anti-virus software at a time.
Avast! Antivirus is a software program that provides virus and spyware protection for your computer, including anti-rootkit. Avast! is available as both a free and a pay version. If you are using the free version, you have up to 60 days to register for a 1-year license. The registration is simple and only asks for your email address, name, and a couple of simple questions (primarily to make certain you are choosing the correct version for your needs). The free version does not ask for any payment, addresses, or credit card information. To download Avast! now, click here.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a new, free consumer anti-malware solution for your computer. It helps protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It's available as a no-cost download for Windows XP SP2 and higher, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. To download Microsoft Security Essentials, click here now.
Spyware/Grayware/Malware Protection & Removal
Spyware types of programs encompass the majority of computer infections. A removal/prevention spyware tool is generally run in conjunction with an anti-virus program. Unlike anti-virus programs, more than one anti-spyware program can be run on the same system, and generally, it is best to run at least two when cleaning an infection.
Spybot - Search & Destroy is a software program that detects and removes spyware. Spyware silently tracks your surfing behavior to create a marketing profile for you that is transmitted without your knowledge to the compilers and sold to advertising companies. Spybot can also clean usage tracks, an interesting function if you share your computer with other users and don't want them to see what you have been working on. And for professional users, Spybot-S&D allows you to fix some registry inconsistencies and extended reports. Spybot is a free program. To download Spybot now, click here.
This software tool is a free Windows program. If you regularly install Windows updates on your XP or Vista machine, you probably already have this installed. This program is good for removing specific instances of spyware and is best only used in conjunction with one of the programs above. To run this program after it is installed, go to the Start Menu and select "Run..." then type in "mrt.exe" and click "OK". If you do not already have this program, click here.
Computer Optimization Tools
CCleaner is a free system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. Additionally, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. To download CCleaner now, click here.
Internet Safety Information
NetSmartz411 is parents' and guardians' premier, the online resource for answering questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web. To go to NetSmartz411 now, click here.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office offers this for informational purposes and does not take responsibility for the accuracy, content, availability, or successful operation of suggested products. Using the information provided is the sole discretion and responsibility of the computer system owner. If you have an infected computer and are uncertain as to accurate maintenance to clean said system, please seek help from a professional in the computer field. The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office will not be held liable for any damage to a computer after using the provided information. Each software company mentioned above has its own licensing terms for its program.