Avoiding Spyware and Viruses

Avoiding spyware and viruses is a must for good computer health and a decent computing experience. With spyware and viruses, you'll experience many problems ranging from simple annoyances (e.g. constant pop-up windows covering your desktop as you work) to destruction of or stealing important data.

There are some easy steps to follow which will help to reduce drastically the occurrences of these common problems.

  1. Never click on Internet ads. The rare exception to this would be is if it's a well known, reputable company. But verify in your web browser's status bar (typically on the bottom of the screen) that the link is actually going to take you to the correct website. Avoid clicking links that go directly to IP addresses.
  2. Never download Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint files without having an antivirus scan done first. May free email providers (Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.) will do this for you. But if you are using a mail client directly on your computer, ensure you have an anti-virus software installed first. Do not trust your friends' statement of "I would never send you a virus. It’s fine." It's not that they would *intentionally* send you an infected file, it's that they may have a virus or the file could have been infected before your friend received it.
  3. Avoid illegal or questionable websites. Illegal music/video/software/pornographic websites are notorious for spyware and viruses. Plus, who can you complain to about your problem? These folks are not focused on good service. And any legit authority won't help you fix your problems so that you can continue to steal or pirate illegal media.

Following these steps shouldn't slow you down or erode your Internet surfing experience. It takes a little discipline and will reward you continually with unobstructed Internet passage.