Firewalls monitor and control the information that goes to and fro the Internet, and they work like bouncers at a bar. Each firewall decides whether each ‘guest’ is allowed to enter or to send details to your network. Going without firewalls is akin to leaving a door open, which allows malware to enter your device easily. You can enable the firewalls on most devices yourself, and it is recommended to use external protection software, like McAfee, BitDefender and Kaspersky.

Besides controlling the flow of data from your device to an untrusted network like the Internet, you should also protect your device from malware that can monitor your activities or gain access to important information like your passwords. Anti-virus software looks for malware on your devices, and then blocks their access and erases them. These programs are not only essential for your computer, but also for your mobile device.

Recommended software:
For Windows and Linux computers: ESET, Kaspersky and BitDefender
For Apple computers: Microworld, BitDefender and AVG
For Android phones: Avast Mobile Security
For iPhones: Norton and Lookout

Most people know what firewalls are and have installed at least one anti-virus program. However, to guarantee the full protection of data in use, it is also important to install a host intrusion prevention (HIP) system. This additional preventative measure monitors the system and the network to ensure all processes are legitimate and notifies the user if there are any policy violations. To discover malware, the HIP compares your current user patterns with your usage habits. One provider offering this security software is ‘McAfee’.

At first glance, the task of installing all these recommended security programmes may seem daunting, but some software provide all three tools in one. These multiproducts are recommended because a worst case scenario could be installing three single programmes that enable each other. Examples for combined tools for every system are ‘McAfee’, ‘BitDefender’ or ‘Kaspersky’. Keep in mind that various organisations and magazines test different providers, ranking their security and effectiveness against the latest threats each year. Do your due diligence before committing to a package. A useful website to help you get started is www.av-test.org/en/.