Tips to Avoid Spyware and Virus's

KeyWords: spyware, malware, virus, avoid, remove, prevent, bundle, software, freeware, adware, help, stop

Tips to Avoid Spyware and Virus's

The past weekend I was working on a friends computer and he wondered how and what I use to avoid getting spyware and virus's. I laughed at the question and while trying to think of the words to explain how I avoid getting spyware and virus's I simply said, "I know what not to download". And as ludicrous as it may sound spyware, 90% of the time is initiated by users. The other 10% is not having up-to-date software, such as Internet Explorer. Which prompted me to write this exert on how to avoid downloading and installing spyware, and virus's on your on computer not knowing, so let's get to it!

Pay Attention and Read
The biggest problem is that most people do not bother to read the fine print, which is where a lot of companies can get you. Taking the extra 30 seconds to read the fine print can save you hours and hundreds of dollars (which would be spent fixing the computer). First off let's look at a legitimate download, which everyone needs in this day and age, Acrobat Reader. As much as it sucks, Adobe tends to bundle software with their application. Although it is not Spyware, what they bundle will slow down your computer with unnecessary software. The Photo Album is not something everyone needs or wants, especially when for most people the default windows picture viewer is plenty. But yet when you download Adobe Reader, the default check mark is set to download Photo Album with Adobe Reader. Why? Because Adobe knows that most users are not computer savy and will not un-check it thus making their name bigger and make you feel like you NEED Adobe software to do anything.

Another company that will bundle software by default is Yahoo!. Anytime you download a game, or software from Yahoo! They bundle their crappy Yahoo! Toolbar. Which I have seen slows systems down up to 30% and most users do not even know how the toolbar came to be on their system. All they had to do was un-check one simple box, which of course is somewhat hidden and not noticeable because Yahoo! Wants you to depend on their software. In the end, companies are deceitful because they want money. Simple as that, so do yourself the favor and read and know what you are installing. It will save you numerous headaches.

Keep Windows Up-to-Date
As much as I do not like Windows Update (slow, and very inefficient) keeping windows software up-to-date will help you prevent spyware and viruses. Reason being is exploits are found every day in Windows software which could allow someone to inject spyware to your computer through a website, email or another means without you even realizing it. The big one is Internet Explorer, I highly suggest moving over to Firefox. That is my personal preference and have not had one issue with spyware leaking through like I have had with Internet Explorer. Keeping windows up-to-date is key to fighting spyware and viruses especially since there are many people who dislike windows and intentionally try to exploit it to disrupt it's users.

Do not download Freeware
Freeware online is often times bundled with Spyware galore! If you want to download free software make sure it is from a trusted source, such as, who regularly checks software on their website for spyware. No matter what avoid downloading any type of screen savers. As cool as some maybe, those .scr files are opening for massive invasion of privacy and attacks. The worst software to download is Screensavers so avoid it at all costs. Again anything you do download be wise and conscious about what the software is and how necessary the software is.

Keep Firewalls Active
Now a days with Cable and DSL a lot of people have Routers, if you do not I highly suggest getting one, as they come with a Hardware firewall, which ultimately protects you more than any software firewall could even dream about without taking up your computer's resources. A lot of your probably remember a few worms a while back that hit a ton of computers, Code Red I think was a huge one for DSL customers. When this worm hit the only really protected computers where those that had a hardware firewall in place to block certain ports which the worm infiltrated on. There are always worms circulation through the internet that attach to computers who do not have the port or an update to fix the worm blocked.

I have Spyware!! Help!
Once you have reached the stage that your computer is infected with Spyware, you have two choices. First choice is to download my favorite program, Spybot Search and Destroy. I have used this program for many years and if the spyware can be removed without a format this program will do it. Your second choice, which most people do not like, is a clean format. Basically wipes all of your software off and restarts you from ground zero. Personally I format my computer every 3-6months whether my computer is infected or not. But for the average user that is not viable. I would suggest that your computer is formatted every 1 to 2 years. Just to keep it running smooth and clean. When the computer is formatted you know that it is spyware, virus and any type of malware free.

Ending Notes
In the end avoiding Spyware, Malware, Worms and Virus's does not require some high priced virus or spyware checker. All it requires is a little work and a little time to make sure you are downloading and installing software you want and making sure it is not infected or bundled. I have not ran any anti-virus or anti-spyware software on my computer since 2000 and the only time I get infected, is when I consciously realize that I downloaded something I should not have. Luckily I have multiple harddrives and I always make sure that my main Windows Drive has nothing important on it so I can format it without worrying about losing any personal or important data. Well I hope this will help you to avoid Spyware and Virus's and keep your system running clean and smooth for years to come!

Related Articles
Spyware Tips for Avoiding and Removing
(Note I know the two are very similar but it does not hurt to re-iterate from time to time)

Posted by frost on Feb 27th, 2008 10:13 - Subscribe Bookmark and Share

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Posted by wc2345dw on March 31st, 2008

Excellent tips, thanks for sharing. I think the biggest problem is people clicking on attachments in their email. If they would be more careful there would be 99% less viruses.

Posted by anonymous on May 12th, 2008

dude m a noob
can u tell me how do i come to know if my pc is infected with spyware?
for viruses avg does the work for me
but i dont know wat these spywares are
can u plz give some tips on it
like how we can come to a conclusion that we have a spyware in our system.

Posted by anonymous on October 24th, 2008

nice blog try installing and running Spybot Search and Destroy to scan for spyware

Posted by anonymous on November 17th, 2008

Great tutorial!

Posted by anonymous on November 17th, 2008

Excellent work!

Posted by anonymous on September 08th, 2009

well i am about half way through a pack of smokes, ready to murder myself, but all and all, this is the ONLY page that steers me anywhere in the right direction i have found online, and i have been searching thoroughly. i have a xp machine, no cd burner, an 8 gig flash drive, and an iso of vista, so i will have more trouble than others, but i know there will is a way!

Posted by anonymous on December 10th, 2009

i usually surf WWW logged as user with least privileges (i.e. can't install anything) and have AutoRun disabled so I don't get infected via flush drives (also select them via tree in win explorer on left). That likely helps.

Posted by anonymous on September 07th, 2010

It's viruses... not the possessive with apostrophe-S




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