In every James Bond movie, 007 pays a visit to "Q", an aging scientist with excessively bushy eyebrows, who dispenses high-tech widgets and gizmos. James then uses these gizmos to save the day (and his skin) during the rest of the movie.
James needs Q's gadgetry to survive in a very scary world. If you're on the internets, you're in a scary world too. So while our eyebrows don't quite rise to the level (get it?) of Q's, we thought we'd give you some gadgetry that you might need in the dangerous world of cyberspace.
Things You Don't Need
If you've watched any cable TV, you almost certainly seen ads for an alleged service called MyCleanPc.com. Pay careful attention to this ad, because almost everything it says is wrong. A slow running computer, blue screens, and email that takes more that 3 seconds to load are not, as the ad says, "usually the signs of a virus". Neither will any of these things cause "permanent damage to your computer." Sites like this one are a waste of money and precious bodily fluids.
Neither do you need gadgets called "registry cleaners". These purport to fix your registry, because we all know a registry with errors must be bad, right? Well, horse hockey. Registry errors are almost always benign, and these "cleaners" stand as good a chance of screwing something up as they do of fixing something, which probably doesn't need to be fixed in the first place. So Just Say No.
What You Do Need
Assuming you're a Windows kind of guy / gal / android, Get Microsoft Security Essentials here. Better than most of the $50 per year or more commercial anti-virus packages. And not as likely to lock you out of your computer (sorry, McAfee) or do nasty things to your computer (sorry, Symantec). Make sure it auto-updates.
Run Malwarebytes occasionally. If you do get infected, Malwarebytes is a great tool for uninfecting you.
Use Revo Uninstaller (free version) when you want to remove a program from your computer. The"moderate" setting will work just fine. And CCleaner is a very useful tool for brushing your computer's teeth and getting all the leftover spinach out from between it's little silicon incisors.
You Mac users out there shouldn't be so smug anymore - as Apple market share grows, the bad guys have more and more incentive to target you. And Safari is one of the easiest browsers to crack.
You Ubuntu peeps can just smile quietly to yourselves and keep trying to figure out Gimp.
Tomorrow - useful photo editing tools and our secret Cold War -inspired recipe for poisons used in Ja
THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST HAS BEEN REDACTED BY THE FEDERAL WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. SERIOUSLY, WOULD YOU GUYS CUT IT OUT ABOUT JAKARTA ALREADY? WE'RE GETTING TIRED OF MOVING YOU.