An unprotected computer has about 4 minutes before it is hacked from the Internet, according to information from the SANS Institute (isc.sans.org).
Protecting a New Computer:
The best malware protection is you. But there are nasty websites that can net you an infection just by clicking if you don't have some real-time software to stop the damage before it starts.
Operating System Security Updates:
One of the best ways to check for security updates for all your software, is a free program called Secunia PSI. Add spyware checkers such as RUBotted, SpywareBlaster, and Spybot Search & Destroy and you are on the way to keeping your new computer free of hackers and nasty software. You'll find these and other free programs in our Software Downloads.
What is Malware/Spyware?
Malware can be a program or "cookie" that sends data about you or your computer to someone else connected to the Internet - and exposes your online habits, computer data, or personal information. Spyware can secretly capture your keystrokes and send it to a third party - such as passwords to bank accounts, giving them access to your money! Some spyware are trojan viruses that turn your computer into a Spam Zombie. Spyware can arrive in an email attachment that you opened, can be embedded in software you downloaded and installed, or even arrive as an automatic download from a website.
Spam Zombies and Botnets:
You may think your security software can protect your computer from "bot" control, but a 2008 study by security firm FireEye revealed that antivirus programs detect bots less than half the time. They used VirusTotal, which offers free online testing of a file for viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware using over 30 antivirus products.
Malware Scan & Repair Tools
Here are a few of the best-known tools to scan for and remove spyware. They are not all the same. More than one should check your computer on a regular schedule.
No single tool is perfect; and there are no tools that can't be defeated, broken, or disabled in some way, under the right circumstances. To protect a computer connected to the Internet, use a layered approach of protection: a firewall (software and hardware), antivirus software updated daily/weekly, install "Startup Monitor", run a malware scanner such as Ad-Aware, and use high security settings for email (disable Web page email, delete attachments of dangerous file types). And, of course, you never click on email attachments from a friend unless you are certain they sent it and it does not contain a virus, right?! (Viruses | Downloads)
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