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This chapter is from the book

What Can You Do About Spyware?

Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion was that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This also seems to apply to modern computer use (or misuse). For every spyware program, there also are antispyware programs that can let you know if your computer has been infected by spyware. Interestingly enough, some spyware developers use antispyware software to test the effectiveness of their own spyware and to try to make it less vulnerable to detection.

Although remote installation of spyware occurs, many spyware programs must be physically installed on your computer, so it is important to be sure you trust whoever repairs and services your computers.

Another way to protect yourself is through the installation of software programs that record every software installation that occurs on your computer. If you use this software, you obviously want to keep it hidden so that someone attempting to install spyware on your computer would be unaware that they are actually being monitored.

Some antivirus programs also work against spyware and they provide good additional, if not total, protection.

You can also take advantage of your Web browser’s ability to prevent or limit cookies by changing your preference to disable cookies. An easy place to go to learn how to disable cookies is http://privacy.getnetwise.org/browsing/tools/.

Finally, return to Sir Isaac Newton and add to his laws of motion the axiom “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Because spyware permits all your computer’s activities to be recorded, one way of telling that your computer has been accessed by someone with spyware is to install your own spyware in order to determine what has been going on in your computer.

It’s Not Always Good to Share

File sharing is a way for people to share music, computer software, or games over the Internet. It is simple to do. You just download software that permits you to connect your computer to a network of other computers using the same software, and you are off to the races. Unfortunately, there are some significant risks involved in file sharing. If you do not install the file-sharing software properly, you might make your computer vulnerable to having personal information stored on your computer retrieved by an identity thief through spyware.

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