You have found and removed unwanted adware or spyware on your system, or you’ve been fortunate enough to never have encountered it to begin with.
Now let’s discuss keeping your system clean. Ninety percent of avoiding spyware is education and common sense.
If you have been vulnerable to spyware infestations or spyware attacks in the past, chances are you remain vulnerable unless changes have been made in your policies, your online behavior or the way you detect such pests.
You should know by now that opening spam or any e-mail from persons unknown or with an unexpected attachment is unwise.
In addition to viruses, RATS and other programs can be present in e-mail attachments. Web sites advertised in unsolicited e-mail can try to plant dialers or other types of pests on your computer.
If you use Outlook or Outlook Express for your e-mail, there are some settings you can adjust to make your e-mail safe from spyware and viruses.
The Preview Pane, which lets you view an e-mail while keeping your mailbox on the screen, has been a cause of concern among e-mail users, especially if you have scripting or ActiveX enabled.
By automatically opening e-mails, there are reports of viruses spreading, such as the KAK-Worm.
Malicious content like the KAK-Worm exploits security holes in the software, so enabling or disabling the Preview Pane is not the ultimate issue.
Keeping up with patches and security fixes is a better long-term solution.
To disable the Preview Pane in Outlook, click on the View menu. For more information on securing Outlook and Outlook Express, read this: tames.net.
There is a lot to see on the World Wide Web, and sometimes you’re not sure where it’s coming from.
If your computer is used to visit Web sites that are not published by well-known publishers, it is even more important to regularly scan for pests.
Pay close attention if you visit Web sites that advertise “too good to be true” deals or feature pornography.
Be careful what you download. Read all dialogue boxes carefully and close anything that looks suspicious.
When closing dialogue boxes or pop-up advertisements, be sure to use the proper “X” to close the window. The Web is full of ads that feature mock “Xs” or “Close” or “OK” buttons within the ad.
Clicking on them actually clicked on the ad itself. If you’re not sure how to safely close a window that has opened in your browser, right click on the window in your Windows Taskbar (usually at the bottom of your display) and click on “Close.”
Some ads that appear online attempt to pass themselves off as security alerts or messages from tech support (these are called FUIs, or Fake User Interface, ads).
If you’re using a computer within an organization, communicate with your tech support staff if you’re unsure whether a message is legitimate, and familiarize yourself with how tech support communicates with the computer users in your organizations.
The following advertisement was part of a lawsuit involving deceptive advertising practices.
Notice how the “OK” button is within the ad, and that clicking on it would take users to the site of the advertiser.