Use Anti-Spyware Software
Spyware is software installed without your knowledge or consent. It can monitor your online activities and collect personal information while you surf the Web. Some kinds of spyware, called keyloggers, record everything you type in – including your passwords and financial information. Your computer may be infected with spyware if you receive a sudden flurry of pop-up ads, are taken to Websites you don't want to go to, or if your computer begins to run slowly.
- Spyware protection is included in some anti-virus software programs.
- Check your anti-virus software documentation for instructions on how to activate the spyware protection features. You can also buy separate anti-spyware software programs, but do your research before purchasing to ensure you are buying from a reputable company.
- Keep your anti-spyware software updated and run it regularly.
- Download software only from sites you know and trust. Piggybacking spyware can be an unseen cost of many "free" programs.
- Don't click on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail for “free” anti-spyware offers. Some of these offers are actually designed to install malicious software on your computer.
Manage your system and browser to protect your privacy
Fraudsters are constantly trying to find flaws or holes in operating systems and browsers.
- To protect your computer and the information on it, ensure your security settings in your system and browser are set at medium or higher. Check the Tools or Options menus for how to do this.
- Update your system and browser regularly, taking advantage of automatic updating when it's available. Windows Update is a service offered by Microsoft. It will download and install software updates to the Microsoft Windows operating system, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express. It will also deliver security updates to you. Patching can also be run automatically for other systems, such as the Macintosh operating system.