Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Anti-Spyware Tools

Spyware is becoming a larger problem with today's day-to-day internet use. Pop-ups, cookies, trackers, browser hijacks, rootkits, virus' and trojans are all too easy to get, and they can slow your computer down to the pace of a snail. Pop-ups are most likely blocked by your browser, if you're using IE6, or Firefox 1.5. If you don't have either of those, I suggest downloading them ASAP. Defending yourself from spyware is far from over though, there is some sites that will still have pop-ups and cookies will still be placed on your computer. The next largest threat of spyware and virus' is downloading free software, not illegal downloads, but free software claiming to rid you of spyware problems, virus problems, or internet speed boosts. Even free software like AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ places a large amount of ad-ware and spyware on your system.

Simple Guidelines to keep your computer running in tip-top shape:
-Never click on pop ups
-If you feel you MUST download something that's free off the internet, use Google to research the program before downloading
-Never download free software in a 'bundle'
-Use alternative programs for spyware infected installs.
-Get CCleaner
-Get Spybot Search & Destroy
-Get Ad-Aware
-Get Hijack-This


Once every two weeks you should do the following:
1) Run CCleaner and remove all temp files, cookies, history, etc...
2) Run Spybot S&D, have it remove all the files it detects, if there is something it cant delete, remember it or write it down.
3) Run Ad-Aware, it'll do the same thing as Spybot and may catch some files that it missed. Remember to keep note of files it cannot remove.
---If there are files you cannot remove Do step 4, If Spybot and Ad-Aware removed everything you should be fine.
4) Run Hijack-This and do a System Scan only (no log) Find the files that Spybot and Ad-Aware couldn't remove and click the checkbox next to them. Then click fix.
5) Double check to make sure the file(s) are removed by doing steps 2-4 again. If they aren't deleted give us a call, as it's probably a trojan virus or advanced spyware.

Now for all those people that use any type of instant messaging that has moderate spyware in the IM program threes some really nice alternatives. The best two are Trillian and GAIM, they are both spyware free and run just as well (if not better) then the main programs. My personal preference is GAIM.
Another common thing to have spyware is media players. If you know what your doing you can avoid getting spyware with media players. The recommended media players that are spyware-free and safe are iTunes and MusicMatch. You can use things like Winamp, Windows Media Player, Real Player, etc...but these programs have a higher chance of getting your computer infected with spyware.


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