Continued from page 1
•A lot of websites that you can play FREE games online, contain Spyware that automatically install on your computer, without you knowing it. Some even say that in order to play their games, or get their FREE stuff, you must answer YES to following question, or allow a small program to be installed, in order to play game. Just say NO. Don’t do it. It contains Spyware.
•If you do searches online for FREE stuff, just by going to most of these websites, you get Spyware downloaded to your system. Within minutes, you will notice that you start to get pop-ups that won’t quit, and you start getting taken to websites you don’t want to go to. And even when you close all of your browser windows, other windows open up. Now you’ve done it! You have Spyware!
•Pornography is a BIG place to get Spyware. Avoid porn sites. It’s not worth it.
•Another place to get Spyware is when you do searches for cracks for games and programs, to get FREE serial numbers and fixes to illegally use programs and games for FREE. Spyware is rampant at these websites. Stay away!
•A lot of media players have Spyware built into them, too. I don’t want to name any names, for fear of “big brother”, but after installing any type of audio or video players, run your AntiSpyware program to scan your system. You will most likely find Spyware. Choose to delete Spyware and then you can safely use your media player.
•There are several FREE programs that utilize banner method of advertising, to pay for FREE program that they are handing out. A lot of these types of programs still include Spyware in their programs. Watch for this. After installing any questionable programs (especially if they are FREE), always do an AntiSpyware scan of your system.
•And finally, you can get Spyware from even reputable websites in newsgroup and forum sections, and even from certain search engines (again, without naming any names). To find out where you are getting your Spyware, install SpyBot, run Immunize feature a couple of times, and then on Immunize page (in pull-down menu near bottom) choose to “Display Dialog When Blocking”. SpyBot will tell you, in real-time, as it is finding Spyware that is attempting to install on your system. Just by going to certain websites (or just certain pages on a particular website) you can have Spyware installed on your system, without your knowledge. SpyBot will alert you when this is happening and tells you that it is blocking it. You will be amazed where this happens. And by doing this, it helps you steer clear of these websites.
Another way to protect your computer against attacks is by having a firewall. And if you think that Windows XP’s built-in firewall is enough, tell that to hackers that laugh as they walk passed it and into your computer! If you have high-speed Internet (DSL, CableModem, Satellite, Wireless, etc.), then you NEED a hardware firewall. A software firewall is a firewall program that resides on each of your computers on your network and tries to keep out attackers, by blocking certain ports and using filters to try to determine who can get in and who shouldn’t be allowed access. A hardware firewall is a router (a piece of hardware; a box) that sits between all of your computers on your network and Internet. This is best way to keep out attacks, since your computers can’t even be found on Internet (because of router putting you on a different network). Instead of your computer’s processor working to repel attackers that found your computer on Internet, router does all of work for you and bounces attacks back, before they ever get to your computer. This is your BEST defense from Internet attacks. However, a hardware firewall does NOT protect you against getting Spyware or Viruses. Since most Spyware and Viruses are acquired by user (and not an outside attack) either by downloading them, installing a program with them, or opening email with them, a firewall won’t protect against these threats. A firewall must be used as one part of a larger prevention package.
A good consumer router (hardware firewall) only costs about $50 - $100 and can be picked up from your local computer store. If you only have one computer, it is pretty simple to setup yourself. If you have a LAN (local area network) of computers, you may want to hire a professional to help set you up.
And finally, don’t use a computer on Internet without a good Pop-up Blocker. Part of Spyware are Pop-ups. A good Pop-up Blocker will work in conjunction with AntiSpyware to keep Spyware at bay. Some Spyware will automatically keep launching new browser windows of websites they want you to visit. A Pop-Up Blocker will slow, or even stop, this from happening. Pop-ups can be so annoying. For every window you close, a few more open up. Again, this should be illegal! I like to use Zero Pop-up. It isn’t FREE, but unlike some Pop-up Blockers, it doesn’t have to be trained (meaning, whenever you get an unwanted pop-up, you tell it not to show it in future, and eventually build a “black list” of unwanted pop-ups not to show). With Zero Pop-up, you can also block Messenger messages, banner ads, floating ads, and other things. I highly recommend it. You can download a FREE trial HERE... http://www.lapeertechgroup.com/downloads.asp
To combat Spyware, you must incorporate an entire prevention scheme, made up of AntiSpyware programs, an AntiVirus program, a Hardware (not software) Firewall or Router, a good Pop-up Killer, and also be aware of where you can get Spyware and Viruses, and avoid these programs, emails, and websites. And it isn’t enough to install all of this, but also keep current on all updates and definitions, and run regular scans of your system (daily, if you can, if not, weekly).
And if your computer is already too far gone to start your own prevention scheme, hire a professional to set it up for you. Sometimes, spending a little money to have a fresh installation and preventative measures installed is well worth it, to avoid headaches, hassles and downtime incurred with these types of threats. Times have changed since days when all you needed was a simple AntiVirus program. Today, technology has advanced such that a punk computer geek can sit at home and cause lots of problems on YOUR home or business computer(s) and can cost you lots of time and money, trying to stay ahead of all of problems. Get your prevention scheme in place TODAY!
Good luck. I hope this article has helped you. If you live in Lapeer, Genesee, or Tuscola County, Michigan areas, and would like an IT Professional to setup your Prevention Scheme in your home or business, please contact Lapeer Tech Group at (810) 793-1093, or visit our website at www.LapeerTechGroup.com. You can email us at info@LapeerTechGroup.com.
I have worked in the IT field since 1989 and hold several Microsoft certifications. I am a network administrator and owner and operator of Lapeer Tech Group, located in Columbiaville, Michigan (just outside of Lapeer). During these years, I have supported both Macs and PCs, am an accomplished graphic and web designer, and have had the opportunity to support 2nd and 3rd level enterprise networks for GM, EDS, Delphi and Delco.