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What is spyware and how to prevent it

Spyware infection seems almost inevitable. It happens without your knowledge just by surfing the web, downloading music, pictures, movies or programs. Install a toolbar you find useful for your browser and hidden spyware gets into action. This piece of pernicious code may cripple your computer, corrupt your operating system or monitor your online and offline activity, stealing your passwords and other sensitive data. Although there’s no single preventive measure or tool that can shield your computer completely, you can minimize spyware infection by using some simple guidelines and free tools.

Preventing spyware infection

Whether your computer uses Windows, Linux or some other operating system, update it as patches become available. These systems come with automatic tools that alert you about new security code you need to install to better protect your system. Do the same with your installed applications. If necessary, update your third party programs as well by using tools like Personal Software Inspector (PSI), SUMo (System Update Monitor), FileHippo Update Checker or UpdateStar.

Use a quality browser to surf the web safely. You can find good alternatives online that you can download to your computer. Then, make your browser safer by installing anti-spyware add-on programs directly from your browser.

Beware of free software that claims to clean and fix your registry and system files to speed up your computer. Some of these and other similar programs come loaded with spyware. Look for reviews specific to the program or programs you want to use. Chances are you’ll be able to find a good and free to use alternative by searching through Google, Gigablast, DuckduckGo or your favorite search engine. If in doubt, scan this and other programs and files you download to your computer using an anti-spyware and anti-virus scanner.

Using anti-spyware and other security tools

You can find good and free anti-spyware programs online that help keep your PC free of malicious software like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Spybot S&D, Superantispyware. Whatever program or programs you choose, keep them updated so that you can detect and remove the latest threats that may find their way into your computer.

Protect your Internet connection with a good firewall that offers a good measure of security while connected to the Internet to prevent external access to your computer. You can find good recommendations right here in Helium.

Spyware can monitor your activity on your computer, and modify your system files, registry and browser. Follow the guidelines listed here: protect your computer and browser appropriately, and arm yourself with quality anti-spyware tools. When downloading files or programs, stick to those recommended and offered by trusted sites, and always scan them for spyware before opening or installing them. Together, these preventive measures and tools will help you keep spyware infection to a minimum.

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