How to protect your computer online against viruses and spyware

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Computer Protection

How to Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Spyware for Free

You can never completely protect your computer against online threats. But with a sensible approach, you can achieve an excellent computer protection, by following a few basic steps in securing your computer files and system against online threats.

Dangers to Your Computer

While internet has become indispensable in our lives, one of the hazards of using a computer online today is the danger of infestation with a variety of online threats. These include malware, viruses, trojan horses, spyware, zombieware, worms, loggers, dialers, etc.

No matter what your computer is infected with, it carries the dangers of:

- Reduced performance
- Unwanted emailing
- Damage to your data, or even to your bios (operating system)
- Theft of your data, up to and including all your personal information

When malware is released in a large network, the results can be even worse, with mass infections causing shutdowns of entire systems, theft of corporate data, and revenue loss that can rise into the millions.

Fortunately, a few free computer protection programs and sensible use of your computer can prevent these nasty things from happening to your computer.

Virus Protection

One of the most essential steps in protecting your computer is to install a decent virus protection software. You can download AVG Anti-Virus Free edition which is free for personal use, and ensure it's constantly updated.

AVG is easy to use, takes very few system resources, provides rapid virus database updates, and other great features like Automatic updates, E-mail Scanner etc. And has excellent technical help available which other free antivirus software's lack. It's a good computer protection antivirus program.

Firewall Protection

If your OS (operating system) is Windows XP, a default firewall comes with it. But you may be better off downloading another free firewall and using it since the Windows firewall has been shown to have some of the same security holes as IE (Internet Explorer) and Windows. That doesn't mean the Windows firewall is bad, it just means that using software developed by different teams of developers will protect you better.

One of the best firewall protection programs is ZoneAlarm. It is a great free computer protection software for home users. ZoneAlarm has got all the features a home user needs. It has simple interface, is easy to use and customize, works with little or no configuration.

Spyware Protection

You should also keep good anti-spyware software on your computer. Spybot - Search and Destroy is one of many good examples of these. And it's free spyware protection program. Be wary of anti-spyware programs that advertise via pop-ups; these "anti-spyware" programs sometimes contain some of the same problems they supposedly protect you from!

Spybot S&D is one of the best free Anti-Spyware software. I have used it from time to time and have found Spybot to be great at keeping spyware out of the systems. The program has an easy to use interface, very user friendly system. The program takes out cookies, spyware, ads, and many other things you do not want it.

Apart from Spyware removal Spybot has other Advanced tools like:

  1. Secure Shredder
    The shreder securely remove files you no longer want from your hard disk. 
  2. BHOs
    This tool shows and manages the Browser Helper Objects from your Internet Explorer 
  3. IE tweaks
    Helps you modify some hidden Internet Explorer settings. 
  4. Hosts File
    Take a look at your hosts list using this tool. 
  5. System Internals
    Search for registry inconsistencies on your computer 
  6. System Startup
    Show and manage the applications that your machine will run on System Startup. 
  7. Uninstall info
    Shows all registered software uninstall entries 

A great free tool for your computer protection arsenal.

Sensible Personal Precautions

Here are some sensible computer protection precautions that your can take. In particular to avoid computer viruses and spyware infecting your computer.

Most viruses come from your email. This cannot be overemphasized. Never open an email attachment that you weren't expecting; always check with the person who emailed it to you, through a phone call or just via email or chat, to make certain it is a real attachment that's safe to open. If you don't know the person, or are in doubt, simply don't open the attachment. While all email providers provide free email virus scan, don't rely on it.

Other viruses come from illegal and legal downloads. If you're downloading illegal software or data, you can expect to find viruses in a pretty high percentage of it. What's tragic is that a lot of illegal viruses creep into legal download sites. This is why you need to maintain your virus protection program in an up-to-date manner, even when you're careful about downloads.
 
A few viruses are attached to web pages. Any web pages, not just on porn or similar sites. Though their servers generally shut them down as soon as they're found, or your server blocks the sites to protect you, you'll find a few viruses that download to your computer simply by visiting a site. You can protect yourself by maintaining the Internet Explorer security settings at a medium level or higher, or by using alternate browsers like Firefox with good security.

Spyware can also come from "free" programs. You've seen those cool screen-savers for free? Spyware. Try to download free programs from reputable places that vet their software carefully. Such as download.cnet.com, for example.

With the above three software's (available for download at syschat.com) installed and some personal precautions, you will achieve an excellent computer protection, making your computer spyware and virus free.

  Computer security tips and information
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Intrusion Detection Systems - These security systems detect unauthorized access or misuse of a computer system.
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