Security freeware is any free computer program that provides a form of computer security. The term freeware indicates that a program may be downloaded and used free of charge. By contrast, terms such as shareware often mean that a program may be used for a limited amount of time as a free trial, or that certain aspects of the program are inaccessible to a user unless the user pays money for a license to unlock the full program. Security freeware, on the other hand, allows a user to download the full version of the program for free and use it for as long as the company supports that version of the program. Components of security freeware often include firewalls, ad-blockers, and anti-virus programs.
Typically, security programs consist of anything from firewalls to anti-virus programs, including programs meant to protect a computer from adware. Adware is a program that installs itself onto a computer and then forces actions like directing the user to specific websites or causing pop-up advertising while the computer is being used. Though often less directly harmful than a virus, such adware still often collects a user's personal data. Also, the content of the adware may be of an adult nature and offensive or inappropriate for some people.
Most computer users will want to use a firewall if they are connected to the Internet; a firewall is a program that attempts to block access to a computer from potentially harmful websites or other users. In addition to a firewall, most computer users should also run a reliable anti-virus program that downloads updates automatically, and is set to perform regular weekly or daily scans of the computer. More than one anti-virus program should not be used, however, as they can sometimes interfere with each other and create security loopholes.
There are a number of different security freeware programs available at different websites and from various companies. When searching for such programs, users generally should begin their search at reputable websites with established histories of hosting such freeware programs, or at the websites of the software companies themselves. Personal computer (PC) users may also find that the company that makes the operating system they use will often provide security freeware for download, used to maintain the company's reputation of providing a secure and user-friendly product. Anyone looking for security freeware should be cautious – when searching for programs it is essential for a person to search for a reliable product as some harmful and malicious programs are disguised as freeware. Users typically should look for software companies they know and do research before downloading any program.