Spyware is one among the common and lethal security threats of the computers. This malicious software (malware) can leave your computer dead or steal all the vital information stored on it without even giving you an opportunity to take action in time. You may be demanded ransom to unlock your PC, robbed off your money using bank/credit card details, or tricked into criminal activities using your personal information such name, house address, Social Security Number (SSN) etc. without your consent and knowledge.

Computers are used massively across the world to carry out routine, business functions etc.; and keeping them safe and secure is the primary concern of the users who due to ignorance or lack of knowledge frequently fall prey to malware developers. We all are scared of being tricked into shoddy activities, are not we? Yes we are, and before we jump to learn about spyware prevention, it is very important to know how spyware infects a computer (this would make our work easier).

How a Spyware Works?

A spyware as the name suggests spies on you by sneaking into your privacy. It can log keystroke entries of your keyboards; gather information including bank account/credit card details, passwords whether email, messenger, bank account etc., and send them to the client (the developer of spyware) without your knowledge and consent.

Unlike virus, spyware doesn’t replicate or attaches itself to files to cause breakdown in your PC. A spyware is usually integrated into freeware (free software) or applications such as free antivirus, free anti-spyware, adult websites, email attachments (containing free gifts etc.), screen savers, weather forecast programs, key generators (keygens), pop-ups, and tray clocks etc. When you click to browse or download such applications, spyware is automatically downloaded and installed on your computer.

How to check if your PC has Spyware?

If your settings appear to be changed or you see an endless stream of spam messages, pop-ups, odd PC behavior, unwanted web pages that you were redirected to by your browser, your PC has most likely caught spyware infection. You may also see add-ons (that you never downloaded) installed on your browser, slow computer performance, or frequent browser/PC crashes etc.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Yes, the ages old proverb fits in very well with today’s scenario wherein we have access to high-tech computing gadgets but have no primary knowledge to protect them from the vastly spread world of malicious threats (it is not even possible for everyone to be tech-savvy). So, it is always best to keep your computer safe in the first place rather than having it infected and then going through the cumbersome procedure to clean it.

The 3-Step Prevention Guide

First Step – Always install an antivirus or anti-spyware among other security programs and keep it updated with latest virus/spyware definitions. You can choose to install a paid or free version (as per your convenience) from the available range of security programs including Norton, AVG, Avira, ZoneAlarm, or Microsoft among others. Run scans on regular basis to make sure that your PC has no malicious program running on it.

You can also setup an additional firewall with your security software; however, make sure that it does not conflict with your antivirus/anti-spyware. In Microsoft Windows, it usually happens that multiple security programs create a software slagheap situation causing system crash among other problems.

Also keep your operating system (OS) updated in order to patch up the security gap between your OS and the security software. All the Microsoft OSs have automatic update feature such as Windows Update.

Second Step – Keep this in mind that prevention is always better than cure. So try not to go through malicious websites (mostly gambling, gaming, violent, adult, illegal websites) or download any program from these, click on pop-ups, or open suspicious email attachments.

Ignore and never click open the fake warning messages that say your computer is infected and needs to be cleaned. Always remember that there would be a clear difference (sometimes minor but it will be there) between your antivirus’ warning and fake warning message. Once you have noticed that it’s a fake alert, close it by clicking the ‘x’ button and never ever click on ‘Cancel’ to terminate as clicking on the latter option will download the spyware.

Always scan email attachments before opening as these may contain malicious Trojan, virus, spyware etc. Never download files with ‘.exe’, ‘.jpg.exe’, ‘.vbs’, or ‘.bat’ extensions (there could be other extensions also for malware files, search Google or Bing etc. to check the file extensions) as they execute malicious codes on computer. Not just emails scan every file/program that you download.

Before you install anything on your machine, always carefully read all the terms and conditions, privacy policy of the program. If you find anything suspicious with the program like downloading additional toolbars or program, don’t download the program. Remember, don’t click on ‘Agree’ or ‘OK’ to exit the window. Just directly click on the ‘x’ button or press ‘Alt’ and ‘F4’ keys together on the keyboard to close the window.

Always download music, movies, software, drivers etc. from trusted websites including publishers or vendors.

Third Step – You can also modify your Internet Explorer’s settings for additional protection. To do so, you need to click on ‘Tools’ tab and then click on ‘Security’, choose the options to modify settings. Avoid sharing CDs or hard disks of others as these may contain infected files, movies etc. Also never browse file sharing websites for free software, movies, or music etc. It is always advised that you backup your data to some CD/hard disk (and never exchange it with others or use it on an infected system) or create restore point in your system to avoid losing data.

The article is associated with ‘How to Prevent Your PC from Spyware Attack: A 3-Step Guide’ available on www.vtechsquad.com.

V tech-squad, Inc. is the leading third-party service provider of certified online technical support services. Our Microsoft-certified technicians not only resolve virus/spyware removal issues but also educate you how to avoid your PC from future interaction with any type of worm, virus, or Trojan etc. Our top-class services include Microsoft product support, antivirus issues, malware issues, spyware issues, wireless router issues, printer issues, and non-computer devices etc.

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V tech-squad Inc. is a leading provider of online computer support, online virus removal, home networking support, phone support, and iPad support. V tech-squad has a team of certified technicians who cumulatively have more than 100 years of experience in desktop support. V tech-squad is currently solving hundreds of customer issues a day with best resolution rates in the industry.