How to Prevent Computer Spyware

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

When it comes to avoiding spyware, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This lesson shows how to avoid getting infected in the first place.

Why Prevent Spyware?

You likely keep much of your personal information on your computer. Perhaps you shop online, or you balance your checkbook in a spreadsheet. Almost certainly you have pictures of your family and friends, and maybe even their contact information. Who knows, you may even have your family's secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies in a hidden folder somewhere.

In short, there are plenty of bits of information on your computer that you would prefer others not to have access to. However, programs called spyware can access this information without your permission and even keep tabs on what you do on your computer. Needless to say, it is a good idea to prevent spyware from appearing on your computer.

Password Protect your Computer

Think of your computer as an apartment. If you don't want people to come in and snoop around without your knowledge, you likely lock the door, right? A computer should be treated the same way. Passwords play a crucial role in keeping many instances of spyware from being able to appear on your computer. Many computers require you to enter a password to install new software - this is an important key to preventing spyware from appearing. Also, as a general word of advice, don't choose an easy password. Longer is also better when it comes to passwords.

Avoid Certain Sites

There is an old saying that ships are safe in harbors, but that's not what ships were designed for. Sure, you could use your computer to play solitaire all day long, but that's not what you got it for! Instead, chances are you are going to want to go online. However, once online, be sure to be smart about what you do.

There are three major ways that you can be exposed to spyware on the internet through browsing alone.

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