Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spyware Protection - It's Not An Option Any More

by: Marguerite Pickett

The next time you nonchalantly browse the web, think about this: Someone could be watching you! If you have never felt the need for spyware protection on your PC, you may want to reconsider.

Spyware and adware are universal terms used for software that performs particular activities such as advertising, collecting personal information, or altering the configuration of your computer, generally without your knowledge or consent. Millions of advertisers are using spyware products with total disregard for your privacy. Did you know that some spyware programs are among the most popular downloads on the Internet?

What You Need to Know

Any information you enter through the Internet can be intercepted.

Illegal sites can append themselves to your desktop, bookmarks and browser.

Your browsing activity can be recorded and monitored.

Your personal information can be sold to other parties.

Your default homepage, files and settings can be hijacked so you can't change or remove them.

It seems as though your hard drive space has been taken over by aliens. Your computer is experiencing browser instability and exasperating slowness. You are exhibiting dangerous signs of computer rage. Does this sound familiar?

The scariest part of all is that any or all of the above can happen to you without your knowledge or your consent.

Who is at Risk?

Everyone who uses a computer, whether at home or at work, is exposed to more security risks than you can imagine. Most of the time it is some form of a virus, trojan, or spyware that causes a PC to slow down and not perform the way it should. If you are in business, you face the same dangers of Internet security to an even greater degree. A business owner is legally liable for the protection of personal information held about employees or customers.

How to Protect Your PC

The obvious safeguards are: Do not download software from unknown sources on the Internet. Do not open attachments to unknown emails. Only share your primary email address with people you know. But, are these precautions enough to protect you from malicious spyware? In my opinion, no! It’s too easy to become complacent and let your guard down.

It’s time to fight fire with fire. Invest in some good spyware protection. Defeat those spies! There are a lot of anti-spyware software programs available on the Internet. Take advantage of a free download to determine if your computer is infected. If you do not have current, up-to-date anti-virus, firewall, and anti-spyware software installed on your computer, do it right now!

Use trusted software from reputable companies. The Internet is full of software for little or no money. Use caution before you download any software that does not come from a well-know, trustworthy source. The actual cost is sometimes buried in the malicious software that can come concealed in these programs.

Until these evil hackers become smart enough to apply their fraudulent talents into something constructive, the Internet is a place of caution. Protect your computer and your peace of mind.

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