Every computer that is connected to the internet needs to have security software. There are a number of programs that all computers should have, these ensure that no hackers, malware or any type of online threat can attack/trick the user into revealing personal data or losing money.
All of the programs that will be mentioned are available as free or paid versions, free is fine and offers great security, but obviously any paid product will offer extra features and enhanced security in one form or another.
A good antivirus program would be the best place to start. Real time virus protection is essential on any machine and protects you from numerous threats from malicious websites, email attachments or downloads. It literally is the first line of defense. There are many free antivirus programs available including AVG, Avira, Avast, Bitdefender. The main thing to remember with this type of protection is to ensure it is always kept up to date. It is also important to regularly run scans of your computer, so anything that slipped past the real time protection is found and destroyed.
A firewall is the next piece of software that you will need. A firewall blocks incoming and outgoing connections. If a known hacker or malicious server is trying to connect to your machine, a firewall should block the connection and protect your computer.
A stand alone malware scanner is another great tool to have in your arsenal. Although you will already have a real time protection program it is important to have a stand alone scanner too, this is simply a scanner that is not running all the time in the background, that you might only open and run once a week. This offers a different angle and having two scanners will allow for optimum malware detection as both will have different procedures and methods to catch infections.
Last but not least is to have a good browser, as this is the main gateway to the internet, most malware will come through your browser first, so if you are able to stop it at this point, it will save a lot of headaches and a potential threat to your security. Any of the main browsers are good (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc) and one of the best things about modern browsers are the add-ons, with literally thousands of extras for security, privacy and anything else you may want, you can load up your browser and give it the ultimate protection from the web.
The different programs within this article add up to make a solid security foundation for any computer. Without any one you are putting your machine at risk, but with all your are creating layers that any infection must first break to access your computer.