The Three Legs of Protection: Antivirus Software, Firewalls, and VPNs


It’s helpful to view the three main data protection components as three legs of a stool: if you’re missing any of the legs, your protection will collapse and you will put your data at risk.

So what are these three important legs?

The first leg: antivirus software.

Most of you already know what antivirus software is and use it on your computers; a recent survey indicated that over 80% of computer users use some kind of antivirus software.

And most people have heard of the second leg: firewalls.

These keep our computers safe from outside attacks. Most big companies spend a fortune making sure they have reliable firewalls in place to keep their proprietary data secure from hackers.

But it’s the third leg of computer protection that is quickly becoming an indispensable part of computer security: a VPN, or virtual private network.

That’s why it’s surprising that so many people choose to work without a VPN. They do so at their peril, because the damages from not using a VPN may far outweigh the risks of the other two combined.

Antivirus Software: Protecting us from a Bunch of Bad Things

So what does antivirus software (such as Norton, McAfee or AVG) actually do? Basically, it locates and deletes computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware from our computers.

Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are malicious pieces of software (usually attached to other seemingly innocent pieces of software) that can delete or destroy your data, steal your information (such as usernames and passwords), or install unwanted software on your computer.

Spyware is software that can record your computer activity (such as your keystrokes when you login to various online accounts), and adware is software that displays unwanted online ads on your computer.

(There is a special level in hell for those who create adware!)








Since most of us have suffered from some or all of these kinds of computer problems, we know how important it is to install some sort of antivirus protection on our computer and  keep it up to date.

Always check your antivirus protection and make sure it’s running at optimal strength.

Firewalls: Controlling What Gets In and Out of Our Computer

Okay, so antivirus software is pretty straightforward. What about firewalls?

You probably have it installed on your computer but you may not completely understand what it does. That same survey I mentioned above indicated that nearly 65% of computer users have some sort of firewall software installed on their computer.

There are two basic kinds of firewalls:

  • Hardware firewalls are often called network firewalls because they are external boxes sitting between the Internet and your computer. Hardware firewalls are usually integrated in broadband routers, which means that you can connect to the Internet and share the connection with other computers without any risk from hackers breaking into your computer.
  • Software firewalls, or personal firewalls, are software programs that control the flow of traffic to and from your computer and either permit or deny communications. Some operating systems, such as Windows, include a built-in firewall (be sure it’s enabled!). You can also buy additional firewall software for better protection, or download free versions.

In any case, you probably have heard of firewalls and are probably using one on your home computer. If you’re not, you should immediately turn on any built-in firewall, and possibly research additional software if you want maximum protection.

VPN: The Most Important Security Component of Them All

I believe that a VPN might be the most important security component for any computer user who ever uses a public wifi network.

A VPN — like PRIVATE WiFi™ — is software that secures and privatizes data across the Internet by building an “encrypted tunnel.” When you access the Internet, your data passes through this tunnel which protects it from anyone who tries to intercept it.

Why is a VPN the most important security component of them all, even more important that antivirus software and a firewall? If a virus infects your computer or we don’t use a firewall and someone accesses our files, it can be a headache to fix, and may cost us some time and perhaps a little money to fix the problem.

But if a hacker steals your identity because you’re not using a VPN when accessing a public wifi network, it could easily cost you thousands of dollars and years of effort to restore and safeguard your identity.

And that’s why, especially after the large-scale hack attacks over the past few months at companies like Sony and Citibank, VPNs are now earning their spot as the third security leg that is vital to every-day computer security.

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Kent Lawson

Kent Lawson is the CEO & Chairman of Private Communications Corporation and creator of its flagship software PRIVATE WiFi. He combined his extensive business and technical experience to develop PRIVATE WiFi in 2010. The software is an easy-to-use Virtual Private Network (VPN) that protects your sensitive personal information whenever you’re connected to a public WiFi network. Follow Kent on Twitter: @KentLawson.

2 Responses

  1. Ashwaq Hilal says:

    I am not much of a network user. I do use the internet but I am not staying online for too long. I havent tried to use a firewall. My IT friend says, that my ESET Antivirus would be just fine for an average use of network that I do everyday.

  2. Jason says:

    With the advanced methods of penetrating any vulnerabilities to your netowork connection I believe the application of a hardware firewall and through either software VPN or integrated with a hardware firewall network connection to any network outside of your own it is essential to have the capability to use a multi layered hardware/softwsre security suite with an encryption protocol of military grade security to protect and secure ANY identifiable data that may link a systems access to either public or private communications protocol to endure superior and unprecedented levels of protection of individuals rights to personal privacy, state of the art revolutionary security that is kept im a personally classified copyright and patent protected system of mutifaceted technologies and system application that is also protected by universal or international global comiance that provides immunity and no liability to fraud or theft by any methods or means that undermine the integrity and global community consensus and fully disclosed acceptance and agreement of all terms or applicable laws both civil or criminal and a No Liability Fully Duplex Authorized Agreement of All Entitied involved in the participation of any kind on a globally compliant and internationally law consensus of any and all entities whether biological, systematic, computerized, artificial, intellectual, information and or data from any means of communicationns networks whether virtual, augmented, created, imagined, fabricated, hybrid, integrated, interfaced or contractual agreements of legal, personal, private. Business. Corporate, organizational, institutional, local, city, state, federal. Governent of government related intelligence. Or law enforcement entity in a nation, state, democratic. Or any form of politically or religious practices including secret societies or privately or publically funded entity and any and all absolutely excluding not one individual or collective body partaking in any cause. Movement. Activist, including those of the greater good should all have irrevocable and perpetual, lifetime guarantee even entitelement or right to these inalienable freedoms and liberties and all of which is offered with a military grade protection against malicious, incrementing, intentional motivated and random or targeted act to infect, exploit, with a biological, chemical, financial, monetary, psychological, psychiatric, economic, social, personal or impersonal, direct or indirect, leveraging or taking advantage of vulnerabilities in anyway. Shape or form for the benefit whether legal or legal to violate an open trust and openly accepted form of existence for the evolution, progression and or growth of the human experience for the promotion of promoting and facilitating any attempt to improve the lives and coexistence in peace love and harmony of the human race on planet earth should be the very focus of every human being in this world to usher in a revolutionary and unprecedented sustainability of change according to the Law of Love, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Diversity through Inclusion for the Hope and Dreams that Mankind can Peacefully Coexist with one another a grow beyond the ignorance of hate and prejudice simply based on individual differences or beliefs that plague the human race in the form of war, murder, crime, enslavement, tyranny and oppression of each other. Each and every individual man, woman and child deserve the equal opportunities and access to live prosperous and successful, fulfilling lives without fear of having anohter steal, violate privacy or worry about intrusive and deceitful criminal acts from their neighbors and fellow human beings. Privacy. Security. Protection. Technology is not and should not be used as a means to cause harm to anyone but only to promote the love and peace among our diverse, mulicultural, tradtional, customs and celebrated ethnic and rich histories to unite us as one people of manifold unique yet similar existence as normal friends and families that share a lot more in common than our differences.

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