Spywares, viruses and trojans are everywhere on the Internet, you have to be very careful to avoid them.
- Keep Windows up-to-date, check for updates at least once a week using windows update, or even better set Windows Update to be launched automatically everyday
- Use a firewall preferably with stateful packet inspection, like the one included with Windows XP, ZoneAlarm (Free) or Kerio Winroute Firewall 6 which is a 30 shareware trial.
- Use 2 or 3 Spyware removal utilities such as (because none of them can catch them all):
- Use an antivirus and keep the virus definition database updated.
- Get Firefox to browse the web along with flashblock and adblock extensions to block most of the ads and popups if you wish.
- *Be very careful with this* Stop any Windows Services you don’t use (but don’t stop any that you aren’t 115% sure what they do, some are required for your computer to work). See : Windows XP Service Configuration
- Never execute a file you don’t expect to receive (ie, by E-mail)
- Nothing is free (generally), so don’t accept any deals, softwares or offers that feels too good to be true, they aren’t
- Don’t read SPAM E-mails (they can contain viruses or spywares)
Detecting presence of badware (spyware, malware and such)
- Many popup windows when Windows starts or when you browse the web
- New search bar in Internet Explorer
- Can’t change your browser homepage (browser hijacking)
- Your computer gets very slow or gives you error messages
Check running programs and verify if they are bad
- Using Process explorer, you can see all running programs and processes.
Then go to Task List Programs or
Windows Process Library and make sure all programs are
good and supposed to be running. If you can’t find a process, use Google, you should be able to find some information about it.
Then right click on the bad process and Kill it (that doesn’t remove the spyware, it just stop it for now.)