Malicious programs are also known as malware. These software comes in the form of adware and spywares. They might sound “cool” but they are actually very dangerous. It embeds itself into your computer without your knowledge (probably when you downloaded something from the internet the other day), it sits in the background and it quietly monitors every keystroke that you do in your computer. It communicates with its “owner” or developer when you go online and it sends out any personal information that it gathers from its activities. When it does, you are in serious danger of identity theft and you become vulnerable to hackers.
For these reasons alone, you can deduce that spyware and adware are all malicious programs that can seriously harm your computer and expose you to a lot of dangers. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you protect yourself against these malicious programs.
What you should DO:
1. Install a good and reliable antivirus program in your computer. You also need to have your antivirus program updated regularly so that your virus definitions will be regularly updated as well. There are antivirus programs that you can download online for free (but they should come from reliable sources to ensure that they don’t have malware with them) or you can purchase one for a very minimal fee.
2. Using an updated anti-spyware program, scan your computer for any potential malicious program that may have snuck into your system.
3. Optimize your browser by deleting your temporary internet files and cookies. You can also opt to run a disk check so that all temporary files in your computer-internet related or not-can be removed.
4. Avoid downloading files from unverified sources because these are known to contain malwares. If you are a music lover, download mp3 music files only from legal distributors and avoid P2P file sharing networks.
5. Monitor the websites that your child visits and what they are downloading. You may not be downloading free software but your child may be the one doing it for you.
What you should NOT DO:
1. Use any file-sharing programs and P2P programs. In this system, users who have the same files are the one who “seeds” the files for other users. The problem is, you cannot be too sure with who is seeding on the other end of the line. He or she may be an identity theft criminal who embeds his mp3 files with malware so he/she can easily get into your computer.
2. Click anywhere inside a pop-up advertisement. You only have to click on the “x” button or “close.”
3. Open email attachments from people that you don’t know and if one comes from a person that you do know, verify the content with the sender before opening them. There are instances when spyware automatically sends out email attachments from its victim’s contacts and these attachments also contain malicious programs that can expose you to identity theft.
4. Download free programs into your computer because these are known to be sources of malicious programs.