Play it safe with these suggestions

Flu season never stops in the computer world. To avoid getting infected or exploited, YourPCDoctor recommends the following steps:

  • Check Windows Update daily
  • Have an active anti-virus client installed and running with up-to-date virus definitions, preferably one that does real-time scanning
  • Update your computer's virus definitions daily
  • Scan for viruses weekly
  • Don't open any .EXE, .COM, .VBS, .SCR or .PIF file, no matter *who* sent it to you. This is the quickest way of getting infected
  • Microsoft will *never* send you an email with an attachment telling you to install it. *Never* install patches that someone sends you, no matter *who* sent it to you
  • Email is not encrypted and travels from your computer to your internet service provider's server in clear text. If someone is connected to your wireless network and you don't know it, they could be reading your email, therefore never give the following out via email or IM:
    • password
    • credit card number
    • social security number

tips to Keep Spyware Off Your Computer

Spyware or adware is rampant. Spyware and adware are programs that are installed on your computer (often without your knowledge) that sends your information to advertisers or identity thieves or will send advertising to you. Spyware can slow your computer down to the point that it is almost unusable and can damage your computer to the point that it has to be reformatted. Here are some tips to protect yourself from spyware.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Spyware

  • Read User Agreements Before Clicking Yes to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    User agreements often contain warnings that other software will be installed if you agree.
  • Be Careful of Advertising That Looks Like Windows Warnings to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    When online, some advertisements are cleverly disguised to look like Windows warning dialog windows when they are a way to install spyware on your computer. One of the catches are that no matter if you click yes or no, the results are the same - spyware is installed.
  • Carefully Read Windows Warnings That Present Themselves While Surfing to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    Often Internet Explorer or Windows will warn you when a program is trying to be installed - often that is spyware. Carefully read the warning and don't just click yes so you can go on surfing. Make sure to warn your children about this.
  • Install a Program to Detect Spyware and Scan Often to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    Programs are available to detect and remove spyware. 
  • Update Windows and Your Browser to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    All versions of Windows and browsers have security holes. Often these security holes aren't found until virus and spyware writers find them. Once they are found, then patches can be added to original program to secure the hole. The only w ay to do this is to regularly update Windows and your browser so spyware is not installed on your computer.
  • Be Leery of Installing Shareware and Free Programs to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    Not all programs that are free or low-cost are necessarily bad but you need to be careful. Often programs that are given away for free will contain spyware so the author and distributor can make money from it.
  • Install a Firewall to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    Installing a firewall can protect you from unwanted intruders and spyware programs.
  • Increase Windows Security Settings to Protect Yourself from Spyware
    There are many ways to increase the security for the Windows operating system to avoid spyware.  This page has some great ideas for Windows XP. Specific security instructions for Internet Explorer can be found at the Network Security site.