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Avoid Viruses and Spyware and Protect Your Data

In the past few years, security exploits, viruses, and spyware have made big news. Millions of people have been victim to data loss from viruses or data theft via spyware and security holes in the software they use.
A lot of these incidents could have been avoided with software running on the infiltrated systems. You can take a few minutes every week and protect your machine from spyware and viruses without a lot of hassle or spending a lot of money.

Keep Anti-virus Software Current

Always install a reputable anti-virus program and keep it up-to-date. A lot of people forget to install new virus definitions and scan their PCs regularly. Schedule your anti-virus application to run every day at a time convenient to you, and make sure that the virus definitions are updated at least once a week. Avast and AVG are both free, and can both help you keep your PC virus free with little effort on your part.
Virus definition updates.

Install Software Updates

Keep all of your software up-to-date by installing the manufacturer’s software updates. This does not just apply to operating system updates. Office Suites and the Adobe applications have regularly released software updates that close security holes.
Most security exploits take advantage of operating system and browser weaknesses, but security holes in other applications can also be exploited.
Apple Software Update

Avoid Using Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 have all had security holes that have been exploited by hackers. The most recent cyber attack on Google by the Chinese Government used a security exploit in Internet Explorer.
Consider using a browser other than Internet Explorer. Google’s Chrome and Firefox are both formidable replacements for Internet Explorer. You may need to open certain sites in Internet Explorer, because they were developed for Internet Explorer, but that is becoming increasingly rare.

Run Spyware Applications

Anti-virus applications may not be all of the protection you need. Some of them recognize spyware and malware, but not all of them do. If you are running Windows, you should definitely run a spyware application to detect and remove any spyware and malware that may have infiltrated your system via your web browser.
CCleaner, Spybot Search and Destroy, Adaware, and Windows Defender can all help remove spyware and malware from your system.
It is not enough to run a couple of applications and expect that your PC will remain safe. You should be vigilant, keep your applications updated, avoid clicking on suspicious web sites, and be careful about clicking on links you receive via email.
Even if you keep your system updated, run anti-virus and spyware applications, and use an alternative to Internet Explorer, the best tool you have for protecting yourself is your common sense. If you’re not convinced that a site is safe, don’t visit it, and if you’re not sure that a piece of software is safe, don’t install it.

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