Protecting Your New Computer
Did you get a new computer for Christmas? You'll want to keep it from becoming so infested with malware that it is no longer usable. The good news is that not only is this easy; it can be done for free.
The first thing you need to do is go download and install Spybot Search & Destroy. After installation, immediately click on "Update" and download any available updates. This is important because new malware is constantly being written and it is necessary to keep your detection rules up to date.
After updating, click on "Search and Destroy" and check for problems on your computer. The scan may take quite a bit of time to run depending on the size of your hard drive.
After the scan follow the instructions to fix any problems that were found. After updating and scanning for problems, click on "Immunize" and enable all protection. Each time you run Spybot Search & Destroy you will want to check for updates first, then scan for problems, and finally immunize.
Next, you need to go download and install Ad-Aware Free. Once again, the first thing you will want to do after installation is check for updates. This should happen automatically when you open the software. After the updates have finished downloading, check for problems by clicking "Scan Now" and follow the instructions for removal.
Third, you will want Spyware Blaster. This one is different. It does not find and repair problems but works to prevent them from occurring in the first place. It's an ounce of prevention while Spybot and Ad-Aware are a pound of cure. Again, you need to click on "Updates" and download any available updates first. Then click on "Protection" and enable all protection.
These programs need to be regularly updated and run to work. How often you need to update and run these programs depends on how much time you spend surfing the web and what type of sites you visit. You might be surprised at the type of sites that are the worst places to pick up malware. I often have trouble with my computer after visiting sites offering free coloring pages for children.
You might want to start out running these once a week and if you rarely find problems, switch to once per month. I'm down to running them only about once every three months.
It may seem redundant to run both Spybot and Ad-Aware when they do essentially the same thing but although both programs are excellent, there are usually problems that one finds and the other doesn't. However, You might want to alternate running Spybot one week and Ad-Aware the next week since both take a long time to run a full scan.