Layer 1 is a personal firewall. A personal firewall is a software program installed on your computer that controls access to everything that enters or attempts to leave your computer. Think of it as having your own personal security guard at your house and he asks you for permission to let anyone enter the house or leave the house. You can purchase a firewall for under $50 but you can get some excellent firewalls free. I personally like the Comodo Personal Firewall or the Zone Alarm firewall.
Layer 2 is antivirus software. Antivirus software is another program installed on your computer that inspects the data on your computer for viruses, trojans and keyloggers. It does this by comparing the files on your computer with a known list of bad software aka signatures. The antivirus program also inspects data entering and leaving your computer, checks for virus signatures or uses an algorithm to detect suspicious data packets. You can purchase antivirus software, but again you can also get some very good antivirus programs for free. I like Avira Antivirus and Avast Antivirus. Don’t use AVG Free, the free version does not offer “rootkit” protection which is a very common area of exploitation.
Layer 3 is protection from Spyware, Malware and Adware. These programs inspect data entering and leaving your computer and checks for known bad software signatures. If you are using Windows XP or Vista, then you are already running Windows Defender and are covered. If you would like additional protection you can download free programs such Adaware, Spybot Search & Destroy and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
Layer 4 is to make sure you are running Windows update on a weekly basis to ensure you have the latest security patches for your operating system. You must also check for weekly updates on each of the products you installed in the previous three layers. Most programs have a scheduling option so you can set it and forget it.
Layer 5 is scanning. You must ensure each of the products installed in the first three layers run a scan weekly. Again, most programs have a scheduling option so you can set it and forget it.
Layer 6 is passwords. All security threats don’t necessarily come from the internet. Make sure the password you use to log on to your computer is not an easy one to figure out. Make sure the password contains a mix of upper and lower case letters, at least one number and a special character such as !, #, &,_ or *. Do not use your computer password for any online programs such as email, Facebook, bank accounts, etc… And if you use your computer in public places like a library or coffee shop, you will need to change it often. You would be surprised how many passwords and pin numbers get intercepted by bad guys looking over your shoulder.