Because there are so many different ways for spyware to enter a computer, it is almost impossible to avoid infection. Avoiding certain activities, such as downloading, can reduce the risk but there are still many ways for spyware to enter. That is why preventative and real-time counteractive measures need to be taken.
The first step to preventing spyware infections (and re-infections after spyware is removed) is to educate yourself. By understanding why spyware exists, you can start to identify possible threats while you are online. So, if you skipped the first five chapters of this eBook, now would be a good time to go back and read them before continuing on.
Research Before You Download
Even though downloading any sort of free file or software is one of the biggest risks when it comes to getting spyware or other computer infections, most people are not going to stop downloading. There are simply too many desirable free programs and files out there. However, you can greatly reduce the risk of infection by researching the freebie first.
Whenever downloading free software, type its name into a reputable search engine along with the word spyware. Chances are, if that program comes bundled with spyware, you won’t be the first to get it. If you type in “Kazaa spyware” into Google, for example, the first several pages of results all mention the infamous spyware as well as how to remove it.
Change Your Settings
Some of the preventative steps against spyware are very simple to take. For example, you can use Mozilla Firefox instead of Microsoft’s browsers which have several security holes that are easy for spyware programs to enter through. Also, switching to a Mac or Linux operating system will greatly reduce your risk of various computer infections because most are targeted at Windows. However, this is not such an easy change to make.If working on Windows Explorer, you will want to install Windows XP Service Pack 2.
This service pack solves many of the security holes in Internet Explorer and it also has a built-in pop-up blocker. There are also features like the add-on manager which will allow you to monitor which programs are running with Internet Explorer. You will also want to change your Security Zone settings on Internet Explorer to block harmful sites. The settings have the options of listing sites as Trusted, Restricted, Local Internet, or the Internet.
If you list a site as restricted, you are still able to visit that site but the security settings will prevent the site from harming your computer. Some antispyware tools like Spyware Blaster and Spybot Search and Destroy will add automatically add harmful sites to the restricted setting. If your computer internet is connected to a dial-up modem, you will want to unplug the modem when you aren’t using it. This will prevent spyware from committing dial fraud by calling premium numbers.