I have cleaned quite a few computers lately – all with malware, some virus’. I don’t mind working on peoples computes – I make $$ doing it – but in the big picture, it’s not good for you to have malware/spyware/virus’ on your computer. Here are a couple of steps to help keep malware off of your computer:
Don’t use file sharing software like Kazaa, Bear Share, or any other peer to peer sharing software. These are RIDDLED with junk, and will kill your PC.
Use Firefox as your web browser. Firefox is a safer browser than Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome. Don’t skip this step, as there are add-on extensions that will further protect your PC
[ Download Firefox ]
Install AdBlockPlus Firefox Add-On. AdBlockPlus is an Ad-Blocking add-on, but can also be used to subscribe to block malware.
[ AdBlockPlus ] (Requires Firefox)
Add Add Malware Domains to AdBlockPlus. MalwareDomains.com is a great resource for all known malware domains. They keep a list that you can get, free of charge that will allow you to block malware domains. They have partnered with AdBlock Plus to allow this add-on to keep you up to date. When you install, it will prompt you with the following window – just click OK, and be confident that your web browsing just got a lot safer.
[ Subscribe to MalwareDomains Block List ] ( Requires Firefox and AdBlock Plus)
Don’t use an Administrative account for everyday use. Malware and Spyware depend on you having Administrative rights on the PC. Go to the Control Panel, Users, and create a new Administrative Account. Make sure you give this user a password. Next, log out of your normal account, and log in as the new Administrator. Again, open the Control Panel, Users, and modify your user account. Change it from a Computer Administrator to a Limited Account. Now you can log back in as your normal account.
The new administrative account will be used for all software install/uninstall, and any major configuration changes. If you are using Vista, or Windows 7, you will be prompted for the administrative password in the UAC prompt.
Don’t disable UAC (User Access Control) in Windows Vista / Windows 7. This is annoying at times, but it is there to protect your computer. There are ways to make it less annoying (like disabling screen dimming)
Make sure you are running an Anti-Virus program, and that it updates on a daily basis. So many people let their trial subscription run out, and end up getting virus’ and malware. Please don’t do this. Microsoft has a great AntiVirus/AntiMalware program called Microsoft Security Essentials. If not this, there are many free antivirus programs out there, or pay for McAfee or Symantec.
Use anti-mal ware software scanners periodically to ensure nothing has been installed. Spybot Search and Destroy is my favorite.
Be careful when you install software. Many software installers try to sneak a toolbar install in with whatever you are installing. Software companies do this to make money. So, if you are installing “free” software, beware – don’t just click “next, next, next, next, finish” – check each page, choose “Custom” install, and make sure you don’t install anything except the program you wish. Even big companies like Google, Adobe, Java, and Microsoft try to throw toolbars into your browsers, although not malware, it’s still annoying.
I know I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I’m going to say it anyway. If you don’t want to get malware, don’t use Windows. Linux is a fantastic alternative to Windows, and is 100% malware free. Ubuntu Linux is a great place to start, if you have never used Linux before.