Tips on Preventing Spyware and Viruses

As a online security expert and someone who just had one of their computers infected with a virus I thought it would be nice to write a little article for everyone out there to help prevent them from being infected with a virus or spyware. Here are several simple to do things as well as a short story on my recent virus infection.I got a smoking deal from an online store for a Gateway Laptop that had tons of power and was only 500 bucks. My wife needed a new computer so I could not pass this deal up. Once the system arrived I took it and updated all the programs. I was planning on installing security software so I removed the trail version that came on the system but then got a little busy and did not install a new security client.My wife saw the system on the counter and decided to take it for a test drive. She was looking for an Easter egg hunt in the city that we live in. So she Googled “Easter Egg hunt + city where we live” She clicked on the first link in Google that mentioned an upcoming Easter egg hunt and that is where our troubles began. Without clicking on anything else she found herself infected with a Trojan. It really was that simple. Only about 30 seconds online and already infected.Luckily I do this kind of thing for a living and in about 20 minutes I had removed all the spyware and viruses. Perhaps the best news out of this is the article I am writing now. It will help you understand the dangers out there and some simple steps to prevent them from infecting you.Basic security tipsWe all know you need a good antivirus program but in today’s world that is not enough. You need a client that has both anti-spyware protection and anti-virus protection. Having a good root kit scanner is a good plus as well. You need to make sure that whatever client you are using provides active protection. Most free clients out there do not so do your homework and ensure the client you have covers all the above. If you have kids then create a separate computer account just for them. Make this a limited account so they are unable to install software programs. I would say that over 70% of infections I run into are from kids downloading free programs and falling for basic scams.Do not follow any links in an e-mail. Just don’t do it. Instead look at the URL and if you recognize the site then manually time it into a browser and then search for that particular page or article. Yes it will add a few second but it’s worth it.Stay clear of any warez or torrent website. These places are swamped with viruses and they only get worse as the years go by.When using an internet search engine you cannot assume that the results they provide are safe. That is one big reason for having that upfront virus protection. If you go to a site and then a download box pops up or a fake security product gives you a warning of some kind then hit the ALT + F4 button to close the window and the browser down. Often times users will be unable to hit the back button and when they close the fake scan window the program can still install. Just be safe and close the windows down using the ALT + F4 method.The scammers and spyware authors are getting better all the time. They will often post fake links in social networks in an effort to get users to click on them. A few good examples are the recent release of the Harry Potter movie and the death of Michael Jackson. Scammers bombarded the social networks and even the search engines with fake links pointing to a malicious website. Saying things like “you can watch the new harry potter movie free online here” or “You won’t believe this Michael Jackson story it talks about how he really died”. You can see how people who are interested in both of these subjects might fall prey to clicking on the links.To sum it up you need to take caution when online. Taking a proactive measure and having a good security client is your best option but you need to still practice safe web surfing.