Protect Your Computer From Spyware and Malware

by Barbara J. Feldman on July 10, 2007

Many people do not know what sort of dangers to look out for when they are in a chat room. The truth of the matter is that there are several hazardous programs that you need to be aware of in order to protect your family’s personal information. Chat rooms can be fun places to visit and catch up with friends, but in the wrong hands your personal information could be compromised. Below are some definitions of terms that you will want to be familiar with.

Spyware: Any malicious software that is designed to gain some sort of control over an individual’s computer operation. This control is taken without the knowledge of the computer user. This controlling software is designed to secretly gather information from a person. Spyware may be used to gather information for many different reasons. For example, spyware is used to target certain audiences in advertising or to steal a person’s personal financial information such as a credit card number. Spyware usually gets on one’s computer through downloading a virus or inadvertently installing it with software.

Malware: A malicious computer software program. Malware is designed to interfere with normal computer functions. It is also used to send personal information about the user to unauthorized parties such as predators and identity thieves.

Adware: An advertising-supported software that is designed to display advertisements when a specific application is running. Adware can manifest itself in pop-up windows or banners. Like the other two viruses, adware is often installed without the user’s concert or knowledge.

Now that you know what these dangerous forms of software are, here are some suggestions of how you can protect your computer from spyware, malware, and adware while you are in chat rooms.

Use caution when downloading

Many times spyware is downloaded along with another type of free program that is found online. It is not uncommon to have these downloads part of setting up a personal profile on a chatting site. Make sure that you only download programs from reputable sites and that following your download, you scan your computer for viruses.

Mind the EULA

EULA stands for End User License Agreement. Sometimes in this lengthy explanation of terms of a contract there is included an agreement to install some sort of spyware as part of the rights to use the program. Make sure that you have carefully read through the terms of the agreement before agreeing to them. Many times certain chat rooms will have you agree to terms in order to use their services. If you are asked to agree to something that you are uncomfortable with, it is better to find a different chat room to visit.

Read pop-up messages

Spyware installers are getting tricky and will hide their intentions to install spyware in pop-up messages. Make sure that you read these messages instead of just assuming that you know the answer and the question being asked. These installers know what you are and are not likely to read and will use this against you.

Find an antivirus product that works

Antivirus software is evolving along with the spammers and spyware senders. Make sure that your antivirus spyware is equipped to detect and block spyware in real time. Keep up with the newer versions of anti virus protection that become available.

Perform regular scans

Even with antivirus software, firewalls and other protective measures, some spyware, malware or adware may eventually make it through to your system. If needed, you can manually scan your system periodically to detect and remove any spyware that may have made it past the filters.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Protect Your Computer From Spyware and Malware." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 10 Jul. 2007. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1078/protect-your-computer-from-spyware-and-malware/ >.