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As many of you know, I had to delay the launch of KISS Local thanks to a bunch of my websites being hacked so this week I’ve decided to turn the focus on no cost security resources.  It may not be the most glamorous subject but, believe me, ensuring your security (and that of your clients) is as tight as possible will save a LOT of time and heartache not to mention money! 

Several people asked me how I knew I’d been hacked and the simple answer is because, when I checked my sites, I got a warning message from Google stating that they contained Russian malware. Nice. These are WordPress sites and I found malicious code in the .htaccess file on my shared hosting.  Fortunately, I separate out my sites and keep my main ones on separate IP addresses but it was still a nightmare to ensure that every site on that particular hosting is now clean. 

One of the first things I did was run my anti-malware and anti-virus programmes on deep scan to make sure no-one had dropped a keylogger on to my computers.  As one way of dropping malicious code is to steal passwords used when transferring files via ftp, I had to eliminate this as a possible source of infection. 

All scans came up clean and I have used no cost anti-malware and antivirus software for a while now in preference to paid options with excellent results.  For antivirus I can recommend: 

Microsoft Security Essentials – reliably accurate and constantly updated.  You can download it here: 

AVG antivirus – I used to use this (and many people swear by it) but I didn’t like their 2011 release although I am told their 2012 version is far better: 

Alongside your antivirus you need a good firewall and the best unpaid version I have found is Comodo which is what I use every day and is, IMO, superior to many paid products. I suggest you choose simply the firewall option rather than the bundled antivirus as well: 

To really ensure your computer is secure, you also need to run anti-malware software and my top choice is Malwarebytes.  There is an option to upgrade but I am happy with the no cost version: 

Another good choice is the open source Clam antivirus and antimalware: 

Finally, an excellent site with f.ree security tools including several scanners to run a firewall test and find out what information you are transmitting to the net is:  

Phew – I think that’s enough information for you to digest! I will give more security resources, including anti-hacking information, in another Weekend Takeaway but, on another note, I heard from a number of subscribers that they did not get my email announcing the launch (at last!) of KISS Local.  

Aweber does sometimes have deliverability issues so I want to focus on autoresponder alternatives in a forthcoming Weekend Takeaway but, for now, if you did not get that email my apologies and here is the link: 

With all good wishes for a relaxing remainder of your weekend and a hugely productive week ahead,