Q. I've found some of my favorite programs in your Security Center. However, I'm about to upgrade my computers to Windows 8 and will need to protect it. Is there security software specifically built for Windows 8? Will I have to find all new programs?
-Bryan, from Lynchburg, VA, listens to my national radio show on WLNI 105.9 FM.
A. I'm so glad you're thinking about your computer's safety, Bryan! That's the first step to putting hackers out of business.
Of course, there are plenty of other things to think about before upgrading to 8, but security is one of Windows 8's biggest perks.
On its own, Windows 8 is more secure than any previous version of Windows. Plus, it takes hackers a while to figure out the inner workings of a new operating system.
Upgrading isn't the only thing you need to do, though. Security software is the backbone of any computer security setup. And anti-virus software is very different in Windows 8.
The biggest change is that Windows 8 comes with security software already installed. Just go to your Control Panel (the easiest way in Windows 8 is to hit Windows Key + X) and go to System and Security>>Action Center.
Spyware, virus protection and a firewall should be automatically turned on. If not, activate them. There's even a "SmartScreen" that helps protect you from downloading malicious apps.
However, I still recommend you find different software. Hackers tailor attacks to the default options in Windows. It will only be a matter of time before they find a security flaw and infect thousands of PCs.
Third-party security apps are usually safer. Developers can react faster to exploits because security is their only focus. Many of the programs you're used to will still work after your upgrade.
According to Microsoft's compatibility checker, many firewalls won't work in Windows 8. However, ZoneAlarm just released a new version made for Windows 8. Whether you choose it or stick with 8's default firewall, just make sure you don't have both running at the same time.
The last step to securing your surfing is picking your browser. Internet Explorer 10 is safer than ever, but you may want to look elsewhere. This tip will help you decide which of the most popular browsers to use.
Like I said before, security isn't all you have to think about. The Windows 8 interface is quite a jump from previous version. You can make it more like Windows 7, but it's good to know how to use the default interface as well.
That's why I wrote my Windows 8 Quick Start Guide. It walks you through using Windows 8 so you'll be a pro in no time.
Some security tips stay the same no matter what operating system you use. Here are three helpful Internet safety reminders.