Programs & Security
I guess everyone is going to have their own versions of what are the best programs out there based on their own experiences.
Here are the ones that work very well for me, and always have:
Ad-Aware by Lavasoft
Spybot - Search & Destroy
AVG Free Edition (although AVAST is supposed to be very good as well.)
To further help block out spyware, I do the following:
Go to tools on your IE browser, then choose Internet options, then the Privacy Tab, click on the Advanced button, check the Override Automatic Cookie Handling option, then choose to accept First Party Cookies, but block Third Party Cookies.
For anyone considering using Zone Alarm, it's a very effective program in regards to Internet Security, but maybe a little too good. The many problems I found with it is, 1. it blocks too many websites, some without you even knowing about it. Here's the kicker though, even though there's a popup that gives you the option to accept certain sites, most of the time you still get the popups asking you again, and again, and again. 2. That's one of the other problems, too many popups. Very annoying!!! 3. Resource hog, and very long virus scans! I don't care what anyone says. Many say that it scans quick, much quicker than Nortons AV scanner. Of course it does when you do a brief scan, but when you do a full scan then it takes just as long if not longer than Nortons. It is this reason why I like AVG in regards to virus scanning. It is very easy to use, updates frequently for constant protection, it scans much quicker than most of the store bought ones, and most of all, it's not a resource hog, and don't forget, it's free. Keep in mind, compared to other programs, such as, Nortons or McAfee, AVG has been rated MUCH HIGHER in catching viruses.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I hope this has been some help.