The 7-Step Approach To System Security

  1. Dump Internet Explorer. Use Firefox, Mozilla, or Opera to browse the Web. You will still be forced to use IE to update your system, but that is the ONLY thing you should use it for.
  2. Patch your system. Install the recommended security updates and patches for ALL software on your system, not just the operating system.
  3. Run a proven firewall. Do not rely on the Windows Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) because it only blocks inbound attacks. ZoneAlarm and Sygate offer excellent free versions of their products.
  4. Run a good antivirus program. Choices abound. Among the best are AntiVir Personal Edition (free), Norton Antivirus, Panda Software, and Grisoft's AVG (free).
  5. Run Spyware Blaster and keep it updated. This free program blocks adware and spyware from installing in the first place and is frequently updated.
  6. Run Ad-Aware and keep it updated. Ideally, you should scan weekly, more frequently if you are a heavy surfer.
  7. Run Spybot S&D and keep it updated on the same schedule as Ad-Aware.

While total immunity is impossible - new infections and variations on existing exploits appear daily - these seven steps will prevent, catch, or clean 99 percent of the junkware out there. As for the other one percent, you may need to hire someone to fix it but, if you do what you can to avoid these problems in the first place, you can prevent ever being affected by that one percent.