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How Do I Prevent Getting Spyware and Adware?

Do not open spam or any e-mail from persons unknown or with an unexpected attachment. In addition to viruses, spyware and other programs can be present in e-mail attachments. Web sites advertised in unsolicited e-mail can try to plant dialers or other types of pests on your computer as well.

If your computer is used for visiting Web sites that are not published by well-known publishers, it is even more important to regularly scan for pests. Pay close attention if you visit Web sites that advertise "too good to be true" deals or feature pornography.

Be careful what you download. Read all dialogue boxes carefully and close anything that looks suspicious. When closing dialogue boxes or pop-up advertisements be sure to use the proper "X" to close the window. The Web is full of ads that feature mock "Xs" or "Close" or "OK" buttons within the ad. Clicking on them actually clicks on the ad itself. If you're not sure how to safely close a window that has opened in your browser, right click on the window in your Windows Taskbar (usually at the bottom of your display) and click on "Close."

Some ads that appear online attempt to pass themselves off as security alerts or messages from tech support (these are called fake user interfaces). If you're using a computer within an organization, communicate with the IT support staff if you're unsure whether a message is legitimate.

Remember to be suspicious of everything when it comes to installing software on your computer. No matter how safe, fun or useful the tool may sound, do some research to ensure it is a legitimate program. Many malicious sites on the Internet use our country, soldiers, religion and many other heart warming things to lure us into clicking or downloading. Being informed is the number one tool for being safe.

There is no miracle software that is 100% effective in protecting you from unwanted applications placing themselves on your system. If you combine safe surfing skills with a decent antivirus\antispyware tool like NOD32 from Eset and run Spybot Search and Destroy from time to time, you will be fine.

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