Spyware and Adware
Irrespective of what I do, or what tools I use, or what precautions I take, I constantly find myself fighting atleast 2 to 3 spy and adware applications that have managed to nest themselves in. I find these to be more annoying than advertisements. I could even say more annoying than Spam. Not just the fact that they’re either using my machine to send out spam but also trojans that just log keystrokes and send them around. Passwords, credit card numbers… I use both Ad-aware and Spybot and they help only 50% of the time.
Microsoft has dedicated a page to Spyware. I see a link there with news that Senators are looking at defining and then banning spyware. I hope this happens soon. I don’t see too much help but it’s one step in the right direction. Let’s just hope it’s not called CAN-SPY!
- Get Zone Alarm. There’s no better complement to your computing experience!
- Keep your anti-virus definitions up-to-date. I know many people who ignore this. There is absolutely no point of an anti-virus solution if you’re not going to keep it up-to-date.
If you don’t have an anti-virus solution yet, I recommend avast! which is free and pretty good at what it does
- Visit the Windows Update site as often as you can and download all critical patches regularly.
Remember that simply visiting a malicious site is enough for a spy/trojan to nest itself in! These patches avoid such things from happening
- Download Ad-aware and Spybot. Update their definitions and run them regularly.
- Stop using Internet Explorer! That’s an open invitation to trouble of sorts! I highly recommend Mozilla Firefox.
- Outlook and Outlook Express without the appropriate plugins are dangerous. Most infections are caused thanks to these horribly written email clients. I recommend that you switch to Mozilla Thunderbird or Eudora for your email needs.
Then, ofcourse, there are other silly things you need to remember like not opening attachments from recipients you don’t know. Don’t receive/open attachments from people you don’t know through Instant Messengers, mIRC, etc. Don’t open files you download from P2P networks without scanning them.