Secure XP and Block Spyware

If you are running Windows XP then there are a few measures you can take to help protect yourself from unwanted Spyware and Adware. Spyware is a program that is usually installed on your computer without your knowledge, these programs can subject you to un-wanted advertisements in the form of popups and some can even help in the stealing of your identity. It has been reported that up to 90% of all computers connected to the internet may be infected with these types of malware programs. Luckily you can take a few steps to minimize the risk and keep these programs of your Windows XP based computer.

Most of these programs utilize security holes found in the Microsoft operating system and Internet Explorer browser in order to install themselves on your computer. So the first step is to ensure you have the latest security packages from Windows Update installed. You can set this up to automatically install during the night when you are not using your computer by setting this in the Security Center of your control panel. The Security Center will only show up if you have applied Service Pack 2 for Windows XP you your system. If Service Pack 2 for Windows XP is not installed on your computer, then stop reading this now and go do it. You can tell the service pack version that is installed by right clicking on your My Computer Icon and selecting properties and looking at the System sections on the General Tab.

Service pack 2 is very important if you want to protect your system from spyware as it has several built in functions to help you fight this battle. In service pack 2 there is an improved Windows Firewall that helps you combat whether these programs ever make it onto your system. This firewall has a lot more granular control over the actions allowed to enter your system than the original Windows XP firewall and you will want to make sure it is set up correctly. Luckily Microsoft has built this firewall with simplicity in mind and it will protect most people with the default settings in place. The first time a program tries to access the internet you will receive a dialog box asking you if you want to allow the program to connect. Depending upon your answer a firewall rule will be written to allow or deny the access. Make sure you understand what the program’s purpose is that you are allowing to access the internet. If you are not sure answer No to the access and investigate the source of the program.

This one tip can go along way in securing your computer against un-wanted SpyWare installation, but there are also other methods you can use to help prevent your computer becoming infected with these programs. These other methods will be presented in a later article.

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