The best computer security apps to download

Protect your PC from pesky intruders

It is necessary to install security apps to ensure your computer stays free from nasty stuff. We take a look at five security apps you can't afford to be without.

Ad-aware Free

Ad-Aware should be on anyone's list of security tools to install. The software hunts out any adware that has been installed on a PC and gets rid of it. The free version has enough features to make it useful in itself. It sports anti-spyware protection too and will protect against dodgy websites and suspect downloads. The tool has automatic updates to ensure the latest threats can be contained.

Avast Free antivirus

This free version of the antivirus software offers effective protection without slowing down the PC like so many other security tools can do. It may not offer all the features of the paid version but does a fantastic job of getting the basics rights. It can also strip out those unwanted browser add-ons too.

Hotspot Shield VPN

If you have a laptop and use it in places such as coffee shops and train stations, then you need to be sure that you are properly protected when surfing via an unprotected hotspot. Hotspot Shield VPN sets up a virtual private network that hides your IP address from other people on the same Wi-Fi network. Not only does this protect your computer and privacy, but it also ensures that you bypass any censorship an ISP may impose on the wireless network.

WindowsUnlocker

Ransomeware: a word that is enough to send shivers down anyone's spine. This rather insidious form of malware can encrypt your important data and then demand money to send over a key to get it back. Kaspersky Lab's WindowsUnlocker could help in preventing such a scenario by scanning and combating ransomware infections. The app can be launched without loading Windows and can neutralise this type of virus. The software comes as an ISO image file that can be transferred to a CD or USB and used to boot up an infected system.

Eraser

If you think getting rid of sensitive data was just a case of dragging it to the recycle bin; think again. Even emptying that can still leave data almost intact and recoverable. If you want to truly rid yourself of confidential information, then Eraser is the app for you. This tool completely overwrites data and destroys it for good. This is very handy if you have a PC or laptop you are about to sell and don't wish the next owner to be able to find your sensitive files.