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Sunday, June 29, 2008

How To Avoid Being Invaded By Adware And Spyware

We've all heard of computer viruses. Even people who are neophytes to computers have heard tales of computer viruses spreading like wildfire through a network and wreaking havoc. Unfortunately those tales, while mildly exxagerated, are fairly accurate portrayals of how potentially damaging viruses can be.

Aside from regular computer viruses, however, another irritating and potentially destructive type of computer program that can infect your pc through the internet is spyware, and its little cousin, adware.

Adware by itself is generally harmless, albeit irritating. It is a program that basically inserts itself into your system and spams you with tons of unasked for and unsolicited advertising.

Spyware is a much more threatening program. Some types of spyware seem like simple adware on the surface, but aside from flooding you with ads, spyware, as its name suggests, also allows its controller to monitor and access information you have on your computer. Other types of spyware also change your pc's system configuration, leaving you open to further intrusions.

There are several methods available that can help you avoid the hazards of getting invaded by spyware. Among the most effective of these are:

Adjust your computer's security settings - the procedure for adjusting your security settings differs depending on your operating system. By and large, it can be found by looking for the option for controlling system settings or internet options. Look for the heading that refers to system security, and adjust it according to your personal tastes. For home users, setting security levels to Medium is recommended, as High security settings will actually block out some sites you may want to access.

Firewalls - these are security programs that automatically block unidentified programs that try to remotely access your terminal. You can set the parameters of the firewall so that only certain types of programs get filtered, or even limit your accessability so that only specified sources can send you data. The only disadvantage to a firewall is that sometimes it will tend to block information you try to recieve from even harmless sources if they are not specified on your firewall settings.

Anti Spyware Programs - online programs can be downloaded that are actually geared towards spyware security. When looking for such a program, find one that not only detects and intercepts spyware attempts on your system, but one that also has options to actively scan your system periodically for existing spyware that may have already gotten in. Find a provider for your anti spyware program that keeps itself updated with the latest spyware technology so that you can download patches for the program that can deal with the latest types of spyware that hackers are using.