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How to prevent spyware
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Spyware and other unwanted software can invade your privacy, bombard you with pop-up windows, slow down your computer, and even make your computer crash. Here are several ways you can help protect your computer against spyware and other unwanted software.

On This Page:

Step 1: Update your software
Step 2: Adjust Internet Explorer security settings
Step 3: Use a firewall
Step 4: Surf and download more safely
Step 5: Download and install anti-spyware protection

Step 1: Update your software:

If you use Windows XP, one way to help prevent spyware and other unwanted software is to make sure all your software is updated. First, visit Windows Update to confirm that you have Automatic Updates turned on and that you've downloaded all the latest critical and security updates.

Step 2: Adjust Internet Explorer security settings

You can adjust your Internet Explorer Web browser's security settings to determine how much-or how little-information you are willing to accept from a Web site. Microsoft recommends that you set the security settings for the Internet zone to Medium or higher.

To view your current Internet Explorer security settings:

1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools and then click Internet Options.
2. Select the Security tab.

For a step-by-step guide to adjusting your settings without blocking content from sites that you trust, see Working with Internet Explorer 6 Security Settings.

If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and you use Internet Explorer to browse the Web, your browser security settings for the Internet zone are already set to Medium by default. Internet Explorer in Windows XP SP2 also includes a number of features to help protect against spyware and many other kinds of deceptive or unwanted software.

Step 3: Use a firewall

While most spyware and other unwanted software come bundled with other programs or originate from unscrupulous Web sites, a small amount of spyware can actually be placed on your computer remotely by hackers. Installing a firewall or using the firewall that's built into Windows XP provides a helpful defense against these hackers.

Step 4: Surf and download more safely

The best defense against spyware and other unwanted software is not to download it in the first place. Here are a few helpful tips that can protect you from downloading software you don't want:

-Only download programs from Web sites you trust. If you're not sure whether to trust a program you are considering downloading, ask a knowledgeable friend or enter the name of the program into your favorite search engine to see if anyone else has reported that it contains spyware.

-Read all security warnings, license agreements, and privacy statements associated with any software you download.

-Never click "agree" or "OK" to close a window. Instead, click the red "x" in the corner of the window or press the Alt + F4 buttons on your keyboard to close a window.

-Be wary of popular "free" music and movie file-sharing programs, and be sure you clearly understand all of the software packaged with those programs.

Step 5: Download and install anti-spyware protection

Microsoft currently offers anti-spyware beta software for download; more information is available on Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) site.

Additional security tools to help block, detect, and remove unwanted software from your computer are available on the Security Downloads resources page.

Note: Microsoft is not responsible for the quality, performance, or reliability of third-party tools.

Source: Microsoft

 

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