Monday, August 10, 2009

How to avoid spyware and viruses

Spyware and Viruses are some of the most common problems I see out there. You can avoid most of them with a few simple steps.

Email: Opening an attachement in an email is one way you can get a virus. A good rule of thumb to use is that if you don't know who it's from, or what they are sending you, don't open it.

Websites: While there are "Drive by" installs of spyware from websites, there is another common way to get spyware from them. Ever see those pop-ups that offer a product, especially the ones that tell you your computer is infected? Most of those are scams that install spyware on your computer. They won't go away until you buy the product. How to avoid those? Click the X at the top right of the window, or better yet, down next to your start button, locate the rectangle that has it's name on it, and then right-click and select close.

Cleanup: Cleaning viruses and spyware can take time, and there are a few things you can do yourself.
  • Either purchase antivirus, such as Symantec, Mcafee, or ESET. Or get a free product. 2 that are recommended are AVGFree, or Avast. The free products are free for a reason, but do offer reasonable protection. My choice for the products you can purchase is ESET. It doesn't slow your computer down, and in my testing, catches almost everything that comes at it.
  • For anti-spyware, there are 2 free products that will take care of most spyware for you. Spybot search and destroy, and Adaware. Spybot has an "immunize" feature that will block known bad websites and software, and Adaware has a good realtime agent.

Of course, any anti-virus or anti-spyware is only as good as the latest update. Make sure you update and scan your system regularly. This will help keep it in good running condition.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps!

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