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Internet Security features – Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Firewall

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The Internet becomes a more and more important part of our lives. This is a true fact for almost everybody and this is why Internet security should be a major concern for everybody too. Unfortunately, many people fail to realize the importance of Internet security and they leave things the way they are out of convenience. No matter what you use the Internet for, you should definitely try to increase the Internet security degree.

There are many malware types besides the well known viruses. There are adware, spyware and other threats you should be protected against. This is why many times only one Internet security program is not enough. Having at least an antivirus is important but it will not suffice many times in your fight against cyber criminals.

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The End of Spyware?

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by: Grant Rogers

The US House of Representatives has recently passed the “Spy Act” – or to give it its full title – the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act. This aims to prevent software companies from installing spyware on users PCs without their knowledge, and anyone found guilty of breaching the act faces a fine of up to $3 million.

Does this mean the end of spyware as we know it? Unfortunately the answer is no, not really. The problem is that most spyware can continue to operate in exactly the same way as it does now, by asking the computer user to agree to a licence before it installs itself. The majority of people who are faced with a lengthy legal-looking page of text when installing a new program, automatically click the “I Agree” option without reading the terms. Therefore spyware programs can quite legally continue to piggy-back their way onto PCs.

Add to this the fact that a large percentage of spyware originates from outside the US, and it quickly becomes clear that the Spy Act realistically has about as much chance of success as the Can-Spam act did in attempting to stop the deluge of junk email that arrives in our mailboxes every day.

Spyware can be a lucrative business for advertisers and software vendors, and with the average home PC already carrying around 26 spyware and adware programs, it’s a problem that looks set to become worse before it gets better. In time, additional international laws may reduce the problem, but for the present at least, every PC user should keep up-to-date anti-spyware software running on their machine.

About The Author

Grant Rogers is an independent computer security consultant.

Spyware: What It Is and How to Combat It

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by: Dean Phillips

Spyware is software or hardware installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge which gathers information about that user for later retrieval by whomever controls the spyware.

Spyware can be broken down into two different categories, surveillance spyware and advertising spyware.

Surveillance software includes key loggers, screen capture devices, and trojans. These would be used by corporations, private detectives, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, suspicious spouses, etc.

Advertising spyware is software that is installed alongside other software or via activex controls on the internet, often without the user’s knowledge, or without full disclosure that it will be used for gathering personal information and/or showing the user ads. Advertising spyware logs information about the user, possibly including passwords, email addresses, web browsing history, online buying habits, the computer’s hardware and software configuration, the name, age, sex, etc of the user.

As with spam, advertising spyware uses the CPU, RAM, and resources of the user’s computer, making the user pay for the costs associated with operating it. It then makes use of the user’s bandwidth to connect to the internet and upload whatever personal information it has gathered, and to download advertisements which it will present to the user, either by way of pop up windows, or with the ad banners of ad-supported software. All of this can be considered theft in the cases of advertising spyware that installs without disclosure.

And while anti-virus software like Symantec’s Norton Anti- Virus or McAfee’s ViruScan can offer some protection, one of the best ways to combat spyware is with anti-spy software. Two of the best are Lavasoft’s Ad-aware and Spybot’s Search & Destroy, which are available as free downloads.

http://www.lavasoft.de/

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

The free version of Ad-aware does not proactively protect against spyware infestation. You have to start the Ad-aware application and initiate a scan to detect spyware. But the paid version, Ad-aware Plus does remain alert in the background, like Spybot, to deflect any attempts at infestation. In recent tests, Ad-aware Plus and Spybot both protected systems extremely well.

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend installing Microsoft’s Service Pack 2. SP2 tightens your PC’s security with a new Windows Firewall, an improved Automatic Updates feature, and a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer. Plus, the newly minted Security Center gives you one easy-to-use interface for keeping tabs on your PC’s security apps.

There are also other steps you can take to protect against spyware. One simple step is to switch from Microsoft’s browsers, which have security holes for spyware programs to exploit. A good alternative is Mozilla Firefox. Another not- so-simple step is switching to the Mac or Linux operating systems, which don’t have spyware problems.

About The Author

Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer, publisher and entrepreneur.