Geek talking

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Preventing Spyware

Posted by rom on December 31, 2005

ZDnet just published an article detailing how to keep your new computer spyware free. An interesting read but it only applies to Windows users. How about Linux and Macs? Let us see if the tips apply…

1. Update Windows immediately. The same goes for Linux and Mac. Fire up Software Update on your Mac to apply the latest patches. If you are using Ubuntu Linux, it will automatically detect new patches and prompt you if you want to install ’em. Neat, huh?

2. Update the pre-installed antivirus definitions and other security apps. Set them to auto update. Both Mac and Linux are impervious to viruses. This is an optional step for Linux and Mac users. Install it if you like but with proper user-education, you really do not need this step.

3. Download and install an alternative browser like Firefox or Opera. Current Linux distributions are shipped with Firefox. You may opt to get Opera, of course. Mac’s come with Safari but getting Camino, Firefox’s cousin, or Firefox itself or Opera is also possible, but optional.
4. Lockdown Internet Explorer. Yes, do it even if you use a different browser. Old Mac OS X installs come with Internet Explorer. With Microsoft IE for Mac ending its life effective today, there is no reason to even consider installing it in the first place. Linux never heard of Internet Explorer. Hehehe…

5. Install at least two anti-spyware apps. My top two recommended free apps are Ad-Aware and Microsoft AntiSpyware. Update definitions for both and turn on active protection in Microsoft AntiSpyware.  There are ad-blockers for the Firefox browsers. This may apply to both Linux and Mac but personally, I have not seen an effective Spyware on a Mac or Linux.

6. Install some free protective programs like SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard from Javacool Software. Same reason as 5.

7. Install IE-SPYAD, which puts nearly 20,000 known dangerous domains in IE’s restricted site zone. Well, if you do not have IE, why bother?

8. Install a HOSTS file from here or here. This is an effective way of combatting websites that use pop-ups, pop-unders, adverts, hijackers, banners, etc. Also prevents 3rd party cookies from getting installed on your computer. May be worth it to install on your Mac or Linux computer, too.

9. Educate yourself on how to not become infected in the first place. Same goes for Mac and Linux users! Better spend 10-15 minutes learning how not to become infected. 🙂
10. Surf safe and practice safe hex. Also applies to Mac and Linux users. Although it is more difficult to cause havoc on your entire computer system due to the way the OS is designed, it is still a good idea to practice safe hex.

So, should it be top 5 or 6 tips for new Mac or Linux user instead of 10? 🙂

Anyway, all references to links or whatever, please get them from the original article. 🙂

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