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  We are always looking for the best sites on the web to recommend to our core group of visitors: college students. You can help by recommending websites that you feel are educational, amusing, interesting or even controversial. We are also open to link exchanges with quality websites in any category. To suggest a link click here  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
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Essential Resources in Virus, Spyware and Adware Removal

 
In the time we have been poking around the internet we've learned this one lesson. No matter how careful you might be, you will pick up adware and spyware from somewhere, somehow and without knowing it. There are greedy people out there who want your money and are unethical enough to use any subterfuge to install unwanted, unasked for software on your computer in an attempt to get it. Not to mention that spyware uses up system resources, CPU time, memory, disk space, and Internet bandwidth, making your system slower. The only way to avoid it is to throttle down your curiosity to the point where you only visit the same safe sites time after time. What fun is that. After all, the purpose of the internet is to satisfy your curiosity, not to curtail it.

Added to the nastiness of adware and spyware are viruses which seek to damage or destroy your files and those of your contacts and hijackers which take over your browser and only let you see what the developers of the software want you to see.

Enough said. Now here's how to prevent, protect against, disinfect and disarm this malicious software.

  1. Use Your Anti-virus to it's Full Capacity
    It's not enough to have your anti-virus running in the background. Do a full scan often, at least once a week. Make sure that your anti-virus is updated daily by either using the automatic updates feature or by manually updating it each time you log on. We have learned from experience that viruses can slip through the cracks in even the best protected computers since their developers are continually looking for vulnerabilities and the anti-virus can only react to the latest virus as it is found. If you do not have an anti-virus program installed on your computer, get one immediately. We use Panda Titanium Anti-Virus on our computers and highly recommend it. Other reputable, reliable and effective products include:
        Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal Pro,
        McAfee VirusScan and
       
    PC-cillin from Trend Micro .
    If you feel that you cannot afford the protection of a commercial anti virus, AVG offers a free edition of their Anti-virus for home users.
    AntiVir is also free for personal use.
     
  2. Get Windows Updates and MS Office Updates (for Windows & Microsoft Office Users)
    Get the latest updates from Microsoft available for your computer's operating system, software, and hardware. Windows Update scans your computer to see what updates are required and provides you with a list of updates tailored just for you. Then make sure you have enabled the automatic updates feature. The vast majority of viruses target Microsoft Windows users simply because they are the majority. Most updates concern security threats. Take heed!
     
  3. Use a Firewall
    Use a personal firewall to make sure no one can gain access to your computer. If your PC is already infected, a firewall will stop offending applications from reporting your data back to their makers. Free firewalls provide sufficient protection against attacks, but the paid versions offer more features that might be worth your money.  ZoneAlarm and Kerio Personal Firewall. are programs that let you use a wizard to immediately get started and defend against almost all types of attacks. Both also offer free versions that provide basic protection until you decide whether you want to buy the whole suite of security software.
     
  4. Use These Free Spyware Removal Tools
    That's right, tools in the plural. We use Ad-Aware from Lavasoft and Spybot Search & Destroy on a regular basis, running them one after another. No one utility has ever eliminated all the junk, but in tandem they are extremely effective. We recommend you download these free programs and use them. Make sure you update them regularly for best results.
     
  5. Use your E-mail Wisely
    Most viruses arrive via e-mail. Many of them exploit vulnerabilities in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. To counteract this, Microsoft has tightened up security with Windows XP Service Pack 2. If you have not installed this update, or if you are using an earlier version of Windows, we recommend that you err on the side of caution and do not use Outlook at all.

    Never open an attachment from anyone you don't know and be very careful about opening or accepting e-mail with attachments from people you do. If you have any questions about a file sent to you by a friend or acquaintance, send an e-mail back to them to verify it's authenticity before you open it.

    Open an account with one of the free e-mail providers and use that address when you sign up for any offers or newsletters from any website. We use Yahoo Mail. With it's huge storage capacity, ability to weed out the "bulk" spam mail and it's virus scan on all attachments, we find all the e-mail perks offered by the best ISP with only a moderate amount of advertising to clutter things up.
     
  6. Consider an Alternate Browser
    Because Internet Explorer is the most popular browser, it is the most popular target for the creators of Adware and Spyware. Use an alternate browser like Mozilla Firefox if you want to avoid the majority of nasties. Firefox 1.0 empowers you to browse faster, more safely and more efficiently than with any other browser according to it's developers.
     
  7. Visit PC Pitstop for Free PC Diagnostics and Tune Ups
    PC Pitstop online tests check out your PC looking for security risks, Windows configuration issues, or performance problems. The test uses a small ActiveX utility that you load before starting the testing; it takes less than a minute to download, and you're on your way to a faster PC. The full check-up does all this: measures disk fragmentation; checks available system resources; analyzes device drivers; benchmarks the CPU, memory, video, disk, and Internet connection; looks for viruses and spyware in running software; and checks for common security problems. The analysis doesn't change any settings on your PC, and you'll be able to review their advice before making any changes.
     
  8. Examine Freeware Programs Carefully
    It's tempting to get something for nothing, especially if that something has apparent value. Many file sharing programs and the majority of utilities that bring weather and news to your desktop are just mechanisms to deliver ads to your computer and to track and report your internet habits and other personal information back to their mother ship. Even worse, some free programs that purport to help eliminate spyware and adware actually deliver these malicious programs right to your computer. We recommend that you do not download or install any downloaded programs that you are not 100% sure of. Read the licensing agreements of any unknown program carefully to make sure you are not giving the vendor permission to put something you do not want on your PC.
     
  9. Just Say No
    Often dialog boxes will pop up to tell you that a program, plug in or characters are needed in order to properly view a webpage. We advise you to answer no in all cases unless you are absolutely sure of the source of the content. We have also seen follow up boxes that show up after we have declined the installation that change the wording so that saying no to the follow up question gives a "yes" answer to the original question.
     
  10. Use Hijack This
    Hijack This is a tool, that lists all installed browser add-on, buttons, startup items and allows you to inspect, and optionally remove selected items.
    This tool safely removes browser hijackers. Intended for advanced users.

    Click Here to learn more & then download.
     
  11. Don't Click On Pop Ups
    Don't click on pop ups, even to close them. It's too easy to activate something nasty while trying to push "close'. We use a free utility called POW to close them for us. You choose the pop ups to delete and then POW remembers them and zaps them as you surf. When a new pop up surfaces, open the POW utility, select the offending window and you are done.
 
 

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