Practice Safe Computing.
A good rule of thumb when evaluating pop-up offers on the internet:
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The spyware author’s goal is to get you to click on the ad, it doesn’t matter where.
Never click a button in a pop up window. Many times the “no” or “cancel” buttons do the same thng as yes or ok! To clear a pop up, try the following:
If the pop-up is in front (the top most window) hit escape (ESC) to close it. If that doesn’t work, press and hold the alt key, then press F4 (alt-F4). Finally, if there’s an X in the top right corner, click that to close the pop up window. Note that spyware writers will often create a fake “X” button so be careful what you click.
Avoid cute things like Kazaa, Gator, Bonzi Buddy, My Search Bar, free(!) PC protection, etc. These programs (and many more) often install spyware without your permission, or you may have unknowingly given permission when you accepted the user agreement during installation. Avoid search bars such as Clear Web Search, When U Search, etc.
Run Windows Update.
Microsoft releases regular security fixes for newly detected threats. Make it a habit to run Windows Update weekly, selecting the critical security updates. You don’t need to install everything they offer but do get the critical updates. Start here.
Use a firewall.
Firewalls protect your computer from access by other computers, and prevent spyware on your computer from phoning home without your knowledge.
- The Windows built in firewall only protects you from incoming traffic and is far better than no firewall at all.
- Want something more robust? Try the free version of Zone Alarm from Check Point. You can also buy Zone Alarm Pro for additional features.
- Some antivirus vendors such as McAfee and Symantec also offer
Whichever solution you choose, use only one software firewall. If you use ZoneAlarm, turn Windows Firewall OFF.
Use Spyware removal tools.
There are many more Spyware removal programs on the market, these safe and free tools are our favorites.
- SUPERAntiSpyware detects and removes spyware, adware and removes malware, trojans, dialers, worms, keyLoggers, hiJackers, parasites, rootkits, rogue security products and many other types of threats.
- Malwarebytes/ utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more.
None of these are by themselves 100% effective. We recommend
you install and run each of the free offerings. Together, they will
identify and remove hundreds of spyware programs.
For up to date information and help removing malware from your PC visit one of the free online help sites. Here are some we like
If you’re not in the mood to tackle the problem yourself, we’re here to help.
Run an antivirus program.
If you don’t have virus protection you really have no business being on the internet.
Buy at retail or online:
An anti-virus solution is only good if you keep your signature files up to date. Turn on automatic updating, if available, otherwise manually download updates at least weekly, and run regularly scheduled scans of your system. We set our 24 hour machines to scan at 2am, if you turn your PC off at night you might find lunch hour a convenient time.