Six Surfing Habits to Combat Spyware

spyware What is spyware?

Miriam-Webster defines spyware as software that is installed in a computer without the user’s knowledge that transmits information about the user’s computer activities over the Internet.

That sounds ominous, as if malicious software is just waiting out there for the user to make a wrong move. It doesn’t have to be that way.  There are a few safe web surfing habits a person can use to help cut down on the spyware he may come in contact with:

1.    Install and use a good spyware program.  Make sure that the program is constantly updated.  This is because many new viruses and spyware types come out all the time.  This will ensure the virus definitions are updated to the current version.   When a virus and spyware scan is run, the program will have the latest information to help it determine what kind of virus or spyware the computer may be infected with.

2.    When receiving email attachments, make sure the person sending the email is a friend or colleague. Then check the attachment with a virus/spyware tool before downloading the attachment to the PC.  Never open an email attachment sent from someone that is unknown and also be wary on opening forwarded email attachments.

3.    Do not surf unsafe websites. This can include websites that deal with pornography and gambling, websites that have ‘too good to be true’ offers (Such as a 64 gig Iphone for free), websites that allow downloadable pay software for free, and websites that want any personal information before opening up the site content.

4.    Don’t install Peer to Peer file sharing software, such as Limewire and Frostwire.  Often peer to peer file sharing software can open a computer up to malicious programs.  A person may also pass on spyware unintentionally by sharing an already infected file.

5.    Keep the browser software updated.  There are security flaws that are found in every web browser on the market.  Not all of these flaws are known when a new browser version comes out.  Keeping the browser up to date helps patch holes that are found in the program.

6.    Keep the Operating System up to date.  Using Microsoft Windows or Apple’s OSX makes using a computer very easy.  However many people are hard at work trying to find ways to crack open these operating systems. Keeping the OS updated does help to keep it patched against present and future spyware.

Also remember that just because there is  a spyware program on the computer, it does not mean that the  computer can’t get spyware.   Using these web surfing habits can help keep a computer clean and spyware free.

Written by Warren Bennett

Image: Flickr/Sophos D/A/CH Presseinfo

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