|Be skeptical about installing strange or free software:|
When you download applications off the Internet, make sure you know exactly what is being
installed onto your computer before you click "Yes."
|Use the custom install option when available:
Try to view the programs that will be placed on your computer with the downloaded
application. Spyware is often packaged with many free software downloads.
|Make sure you know what's in a package of software before you install it:
Spyware is included in many file-sharing programs' installation packages.
Taking just a few minutes to research the file you want to download may save you
hours of frustration. Simply use this site or Google
to search for "spyware" + the program name.
|Pay attention to security warnings:|
"Security Warning" screens alert users to new software being installed from Web pages
they visit. This software can include ActiveX controls and other Trojans. You should not
blindly accept such "Active-X" software installations; be sure you trust the company
installing the software.
|Carefully read the license agreement or privacy disclosure if one is provided:|
Often these documents will tell you what the software will do when it executes,
such as sharing your personal data with a third party or displaying targeted advertisements.
If you are uncomfortable with what the software might do or you are unsure about the company,
you should decline the installation.
|Read the end user licensing agreement (EULA):|
Almost all legitimate software installations will include an End User License Agreement (EULA)
that includes a lot of information. You should make a habit of reading these EULAs.
Ideally, they should tell you exactly what they intend to install on your machine and
the limitations for your use of the software.
|What to look for in EULAs:|
Look for "bundled" software statements, what information they collect, and how they will utilize it.
If the EULA is hard to find, or if the documentation is unreasonably difficult to read
and understand, then you should think twice before agreeing to install the software.
|Practice basic computer security hygiene:|
As a general matter, there are some basic security precautions you should take to protect
your computer from hackers, thieves and cyber-terrorists. Following these security tips
below will help prevent all manner of programs from infecting your computer.
Always use anti-virus software
And keep the software up to date, viruses are discovered daily. You are not just protecting
yourself when using virus software, but also others you communicate with.
Always use a firewall
While most spyware and other unwanted software come bundled with other programs or
originate from unscrupulous Web sites, a small amount of spyware can actually be placed
on your computer remotely by hackers. Installing a firewall or using the firewall that's
built into Windows XP provides a helpful defense against these hackers. You can provide
extra protection by enabling security on your Wireless Router.
Always use an Anti-Spyware Program
Spyware is very tough to remove. The fact is that in many variants of spyware you MUST
use an Anti-spyware utility to remove the file. Consider using our TriSnap software as well
as any of the vendors
in our approved list.
|Keep your software up to date:
If you use Windows XP, one way to help prevent spyware and other unwanted software is to
make sure all your software is updated. First: visit Windows Update to confirm that you
have Automatic Updates turned on and that you've downloaded all the latest critical and
security updates. Second: regularly update your Anti-Spyware and Anti-Virus software to
ensure you have the latest "signatures" as well. The two sites below are very valuable resources.
collects about you and how it is used. Look for references to third party usage.
|Use Tools to Remove Spyware:
Use SSI to check your system if you
think spyware may have been installed on your computer. SSI is also handy for double checking your
current Anti-Spyware program's effectiveness!
|Simple Changes To Greatly Reduce Spyware Infections:|
It is also important to note, that practically all Spyware and Hijackers tend to target
Internet Explorer, and not other browsers such as Netscape or Mozilla Firefox. Switching to an
alternate Web Browser will reduce your risk of Spyware exposure.
Mozilla Firefox is recommended.
Whilst changing browsers is most commonly recommended, it is not actually going to resolve the issue. The most secure now, is not necessarily going to be the most secure in a few months.
Lock Your Hosts File
Many spyware programs hijack the Windows hosts file (located in %windir%system32\drivers\etc),
which contains mappings of IP addresses to websites. This tells your computer where a website
is on the Internet. By making just 1 change to this file you can prevent host file hijacking.
To make sure the hosts file hasn't been hijacked, open it using Notepad and delete all references
in it except for:
Save the file and then edit its Attributes to mark it as read-only. Reboot.
Block Domains That Carry Advertising
The hpHosts and MVPS Hosts contains a ready-made list of hosts to block. Simply copy and
paste into your host file, or feed the list into a firewall or routing appliance. Not only
does this prevent spyware from being downloaded, it also prevents that much more bandwidth
from being eaten up by advertising in general.
Block Bad Objects Using A Block List
Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are small programs that run automatically every time you
start your Internet browser, usually installed on your system by another software program --
and some classify as spyware.
One possible way to prevent bad BHOs from installing themselves on IE is to use a predefined
list of objects that loads into a segment of the registry used to define BHOs that should not run. Spyware-Guide.Com maintains such
a list, which can be loaded as a simple registry file (and unloaded just as easily).
Unfortunately, some spyware do not use consistent nomenclatures when loaded and may not be
affected by this list, but the list does silently block over 400 known bad BHOs. It can be a
useful first line of defense.