How to Avoid Spyware during Online Browsing?

Spyware is an unwanted program that gets installed in user’s system without his/her permission and tracks all the activities like important log-in information, valuable data, internet interactions etc. In addition to that, it hampers the performance of systems and even redirects web browser searches.

Its rank on vulnerability is high because detection is very difficult. Before some spyware will be installed on your system, you have to open or click on some programs. The usual sources of these are spam folders of your mail, free downloaded software, misleading pop-ups and corrupt websites. Unless you are not sharp enough to judge these holes, you are definitely going to fall in the trap.

Though the seriousness of spyware is high but with sufficient precaution, we can prevent that from getting installed into our system. Just, we have to learn some basic things to do the above said. So let’s know some cool tips to fight against this malware.

Shield your system with Anti-spyware Software

Most people think that installing an antivirus is enough to protect their PC against every possible odd but the truth is that all antivirus software are not good enough in detecting spyware or malware. Therefore, in addition to antivirus you should also install an anti-spyware software.

Only installing it, is also not sufficient. You have to update it on a regular interval to make it powerful enough to detect any new type of new spyware in the e-market.

Keep your eyes open while Surfing

You need to maintain an extra line of defense while browsing on websites. Most of the times, in order to install free software, people browse through endless websites and land on downloading from an unknown source page having spyware.

Instead of that, your common practice should be to check the authenticity of that website prior to any download. Make a pre-analysis, read how other users have reviewed about that in the comment section and in case you smell something fishy, get out of that page as soon as possible.

Don’t take Calculated risk with Pop-ups

Pop-ups are designed to lure users to click on them. They are created according to the interest level of the users and therefore carry the high chance of getting clicked. However, they do not auto install the virus. They pose an attractive “ok” or “agree” buttons. The moment you click on “agree” or “ok” buttons, they will start their rest of the work. Do avoid those pop ups. Instead, click Alt+F4 or else the cross button on their corner. Sometimes, the cross buttons are very small. Make sure, you have an eagle’s eye to discover them like a hidden treasure.

Update Browsers

When it comes to browser updating, most of us neglect thinking of it as an irrelevant task but if you want to make your system bug free due to spyware, the work needs to be done on a weekly or quarterly basis. By updating browsers, we ensure that our add-on, plug-ins, adobe flash player are all sensitive enough to detect any threat in advance. An ideal browser on detecting a malicious web page will warn you and will oppose you from opening that with sufficient reason. So do update your browsers today in case you haven’t yet.

Disable the Auto-Run

There are multiple classifications of spyware. One of its kinds gets attached to hard drive very easily and from there affect other media devices. When you will connect any new media or external device to the system, the malware gets transferred and installed over there.

An easy way to get rid of this is to simply turn off the autorun feature of windows. For easy assistance, follow Microsoft’s recommendation which may differ for various operating systems.

Add Latest Patches to Existing Software

All software has some bug or weak points. Hacker tracks those loop-holes and uses them to hack systems through spyware or malware. This is the major reason; software developers keep on publishing updated versions of their package again and again by fixing those bugs and making it more sensitive enough to judge the latest spyware. Therefore updating important software like Java, Microsoft Office, Adobe products is essential.

Firewall Protection

Add an extra line of security to your system by enabling firewall protection. There are two kinds of firewall available; one that detects the spyware on your system and advice on deleting them, another that detects the spyware prior to their installation itself.

It is more beneficial if you will go with the second one, because, it is more likely to provide the advanced protection to your inter-process memory injection, root-kits, key loggers etc. These firewalls have some predefined criteria that the software prior to its installation must satisfy. They also have an updated list of software those earlier reported as malware by users worldwide. So if a software will pass the above two phases, then only will be allowed to get installed.

Avoid Doubtful Email Attachments

Although during the opening of a new email account, it has been advised to a newbie neither to click on any suspicious external link on email nor to download any similar document, many neglect that and the end results in the installation of dangerous malware on their system.

An easy way to detect harmful email attachment is through looking at their type of extension. Usually an “.exe” file is safe but extensions like .msi, .cpl, .pif or .hta are definitely not safe. Similarly, office documents having macros extension like .docm, .xlsm, .pptm also comes under the umbrella of dangerous and harmful spyware.

Block Spyware through Layered Defense System

Many desktop antiviruses are available in the market but none of them are server based but security vendors have bridged that gap by implementing Layered defense system. Through its multiple lines of defense, it actually prevents the injection of suspicious malware.

As it went through rigorous maintenance by IT staffs periodically, the level of assurance is quite high and moreover, the layered defense can provide more robustness to the system. The best part of it is that one can use multiple vendor solutions at the gateway so that if one layer fails to detect any malware, another layer will be useful.

Customize Outlook

Many of us may not be aware that, even Outlook e-mail messages can cause injection of spyware into our system. Hackers can send the virus through graphic codes. Once you click on them, it will infect your system to the fullest. The only way to fight this is through disabling the image preview option in Outlook.

If you are using the newer version of the Outlook then don’t worry about the above, as this is automatically taken care of by Outlook. However, if you are using older versions, make sure to amend this change. If someone has changed the settings in security, revert it back to (using Outlook 2007) by navigating to tools section.

By following the above-said steps, you can definitely close the chance of your system being getting infected from suspected spyware. However, keep your knowledge base updated with latest technologies and new methodologies to fight with unwanted malware more effectively.

Updated on: 21-Jan-2020


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