Forget "Year of the Horse," it seems like 2014 has become "Year of the Hacker"! These days, you can't even boot up your computer without fear of spyware, Trojans, worms and other nasty programs trying to invade your computer.
That's why I'm a big proponent of online (and offline) safety. So security software is always the first thing I install on any new computer.
You can download plenty of excellent free security programs from my Security Center. I've got antivirus, firewalls, anti-spyware and more. You'll want to have all three types of software running.
Once you have your security in place, you're done, right?
Well, not quite.
It's important to remember when it comes to firewalls and anti-virus, that you can only have one of each type of program running at once. Running multiple programs of each type can cause conflicts that make you less safe.
Unfortunately, not every security suite can catch every threat. That's why your Plan A security needs a backup.
For that I recommend Malwarebytes. It's capable of finding and removing threats that other software misses. Plus, the free version won't conflict with your existing antivirus.
The free version of Malwarebytes is a great tool in the endless fight against malicious software, but if you're using the free version, make sure you have always-on anti-virus installed as well. You never know when a digital threat will strike.
The Premium version does include a real-time protection module, but the Premium version will conflict with the antivirus you already have.
Note: The free version of Malwarebytes has no passive protection. That means you'll have to manually run it when you want to check your system. I would do this once a month.