How do I Choose the Best Anti-Spyware Software?
Most computer users would benefit from anti-spyware software, as this is usually one of the most important defenses against malware that can both seriously harm your system and invade your privacy. You first need to read unbiased reviews to determine the programs that work best, especially since installing a spyware blocker that you have never heard of is a quick way to add more malware to your computer. You also need to make sure that the program in question is compatible with your operating system, and also works with any anti-virus programs that you have installed. Finally, you need to decide whether to install a program that monitors for both spyware and viruses, or just one type of malware.
Performing a search online for anti-spyware software can yield hundreds of results, making it difficult to choose. Of course, randomly downloading one of these programs onto your computer is a fast way to get the kind of malware that you were intending to eliminate in the first place, which is why you should research first. Rather than depending on the information found on each program's website, you should read reviews from unbiased resources, such as computing magazines or sites. Not only should such resources point out the pros and cons of the most popular anti-spyware software, but they should also mention scan times, prices, and the effectiveness of each program.
Compatibility is another major factor in choosing anti-spyware software, as downloading programs that do not work with your computer can be a waste of time and money. You can check the website of the software to find out whether it is compatible with your operating system. The site should also list the individual programs that it does not work with, as some software creates complications when placed on the same computer as other programs. For example, some anti-spyware software may clash with music programs, software that allows you to read documents in certain formats, or anti-virus programs installed on the computer.
It is important to keep in mind that anti-spyware software is not the same as anti-virus programs, as the latter focuses on protecting against viruses rather than spyware. You can usually download a program that protects your computer against both kinds of malware, but typically the most protection is gained from having a different program for each purpose. Additionally, anti-spyware software that concentrates just on this task is usually updated more often than the programs that remove both viruses and spyware, which means that it can usually detect the latest threats. If you do choose a different program for each task, this is where checking for compatibility between programs comes in.
Another tip I would give is to be sure you have your computer files backed up. My cousin had to hire a tech guy to come in and clean her computer up since that was the only way to get rid of all the malware she had on her computer. She lost a lot of things she had on her computer because of it. Some of the files were family pictures that there is no way for her to replace.
I have so many friends that have had their accounts hacked that I am learning in addition to choosing and installing a good anti-spyware program you can do a lot in protecting yourself by being wise in your computer and Internet use. Here are just a few things I have learned.
1. Don't click on links unless you *know* they are safe. Especially in e-mails links can be masked, which means that you will see a safe looking link but written into the coding in the e-mail is a different link and when you click on it that is where it sends you. This is a common trick. Even if the e-mail comes from someone you know they could be the victim of a virus or spyware and the e-mail may not really be from them. It is good practice to type in the link URL instead of clicking on it. Be aware, too, that even clicking on pictures can install spyware.
2. Be aware of phishing scams. These are e-mails that you can receive that are fake but made to look like they come from a legitimate site such as your bank or credit card company. Many of them use scare tactics to motivate you to click on the links and it takes you to a site where you enter information such as passwords or answers to security questions which will compromise your account. If I receive something like that I type in the basic URL such as mybank.com and then, normally, if there is an issue I need to be aware of there will be a message posted in my account.
3. Always be sure you log out of password protected sites when you are done. Never leave them open when you are not *actively* using them.
4. One type of spyware is known as a keylogger. Keyloggers track your keystrokes on your computer, so when you type in a password or credit card number it records it. I keep a special protected file with my usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers so that I can copy and paste them into sites, rather than using keystrokes. There are also automated password programs that keep track of and enter your passwords without having to use keystrokes.
5. Be very careful of sites that you download from. Be sure that they are legitimate sites and scan the files with an anti-spyware program before downloading them or be sure that they are on sites guaranteed to be free of spyware.
6. My final advice is to be sure that once you select a good anti-spyware program you let it do its job by running it regularly (even daily if you use the Internet a lot) to be sure your computer is free of spyware.
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