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The Internet is a great benefit to all of us, but when spyware slows your computer down to a snail’s pace, it becomes impossible to access. Spyware, the malicious programs that infiltrate your computer to keep track of what you’ve been doing online, can be stopped if you take precautions. Here are three easy steps to keep spyware from infecting your computer.
1. Keep all your software programs updated. Make sure you quickly take care of updating them whenever you get that notice on your screen that a new version is available. This is important because spyware programmers find ways to get their programs into the older versions. The new versions have not been studied yet, so there is more chance of spyware getting in through an older version.
If you have Windows programs, such as Windows Media Player, you will periodically receive a notice in the form of a pop-up when you use your program. The notice will say something like “updates now available” or “new version available.” It’s a good idea to take a moment right then to update these programs. It seems like something of a hassle, perhaps, but it is necessary for keeping your computer safe from spyware.
2. Adjust your web browser for security. Most spyware is designed to work through the most popular of web browsers, Internet Explorer. Sometimes just using a different browser, such as Mozilla Firefox, can make a difference in the amount of spyware you pick up. If you like all the features of Internet Explorer and prefer to use it, you need to make sure the security settings are set properly.
To check your security settings in Internet Explorer, go to the tool bar and click on the word “Tools.” Now choose the tab that says “Security.” You will have a choice of default or custom settings. Unless you know exactly how you want to adjust custom settings, click on “default.” This will give you a choice of settings from low to high and should be set at least on “medium.” The higher you set it, the less freedom it will give you in surfing the web, but it will give you more protection from spyware at the same time.
3. Install a firewall and an anti-spyware program. Often you can find these as free downloads. Anti-spyware protection should be part of your anti-virus program. Make sure, if you get these as free downloads, that you get them from a reputable site. Sometimes spyware comes in on the back of a so-called anti-spyware program from a little known provider. For the safest choice, pay for these programs and again, use a reputable brand.
A firewall is a type of security program that keeps hackers out of your computer. It also blocks worms and viruses. If you use Windows, you probably have a firewall on your computer already. It should be set to “on.” To make sure about this, go into “all programs” on your start button. In Windows XP, go to “accessories,” then choose “system tools,” Here, you should have “security center” as one of your choices. Click on it and you will see whether your firewall is turned on.
Hopefully these three tips will help you keep spyware off your computer.