Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ways To Protect Your Computer From Spyware and Adware

By Tina Porter

If you have any knowledge whatsoever about the Internet, then you are probably more than aware of the many dangerous spyware and adware programs that are lurking in the shadows waiting to infest your computer system. You are probably also aware of the many reputable programs that are available to help counteract them, the majority of which are legitimate. Unfortunately, there are a few of them that claim to protect you when in actuality they too are out to infest your system with some sort of malware. You could easily compound an already existing problem by using one of the illegitimate programs. The good news is that there are ways to protect your system from spyware and adware as well as ways to determine if an anti-spyware program is legitimate.

You first line of defense against rogue anti-spyware programs is research. Before you choose any program, do some research on what consumers have reported about it. You can get a really good idea of how good a program is just by seeing how effective it has been for others. People are eager to provide feedback on a product that has not met their expectations, especially when if it creates more of a problem for them. There are several websites that give fairly accurate reports, both good and bad, on these programs.

Also, never trust an anti-spyware or adware program that is offered through a pop-up window, especially one that claims your system is currently infected. The fact that it is offered through a pop-up window to begin with should raise a red flag immediately. Pop-ups are sneaky, underhanded ways for advertisers to get the information they want from you without your permission. In some cases, just clicking the close button inside of a pop-up window will install unwanted spyware or adware on your computer. With that being said, protect yourself even further by installing a reputable pop-up blocker to prevent dangerous, unsolicited pop-up advertisements.

Besides keeping an up-to-date anti-spyware program and a pop-up blocker installed on your computer, there are other things that you yourself can do to help protect your system:

- Never download any program or open any email that you are unsure of. If you are not 100% positive that it is something you want, do not download or open it.

- Make sure you update your operating system files on a regular basis, especially if you use Windows. Many security loopholes are fixed with during these updates so they are important.

- If you use Internet Explorer, adjust your browser security settings to at least medium.

- A good firewall goes a long way towards detecting possible system intrusions.

Each and every day there are new spyware and adware programs hitting the Internet. Your best defense against them is to make sure you are ready for them. While you may not be able to ward them all off, taking the steps above will provide you with the best protection possible.

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