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Something odd happening with your computer?
If you are getting any weird behavior, here are few things you should do just to make sure that spyware or a virus is not causing the problem.

1) Check your computor for spyware.
For many years I used Ad-Aware for all of my anti-spyware needs. Recently I've switched to SpyBot Search & Destroy. It does an excellent job with the least amount of trouble.

There are many anti-spyware programs. You can find a complete list here: SpyChecker Complete List.

SpyBot Search & Destroy
Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if your browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer, too :)

2) Check your computer for a virus.
Which anti-virus program should you use? Don't worry too much about which one to use. Just start using one and keeping it updated. Here is the address for a good discussion of anti-virus software. Check it out. Make sure you have one. Make sure it is updated.

AVG
New - AVG Free edition is now available for all single home and non-commercial end users Worldwide! Closer information you can find in end user license agreements. Download, install and use AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition and get: AVG Resident Protection, AVG Email Scanner, AVG On-Demand Scanner, Basic Scheduled Tests, Free Virus Database Updates, Automatic Update feature, Easy-To-Use Interface, Automatic Healing of infected files, AVG Virus Vault for safe handling of infected files.

AntiVir
Even though viruses have now grown very numerous, one thing hasn't changed: our commitment to provide you with all-round protection. The reliability of AntiVir is demonstrated in numerous comparison test and references featured in independent trade journals. The AntiVir Personal Edition offers the effective protection against computer viruses for the individual and private use on a single PC-workstation. In order to make possible an easy operation, the AntiVir Personal Edition is developed to the essential points.

AVAST
avast! antivirus software is based on the ALWIL Software Virus, Worm and Trojan horse scanning technology since 1988. The avast! antivirus portfolio includes a number of products, providing effective protection at all levels - from PDAs to large networks.

F-Prot Free
This program is from F-Secure. Their windows version is a little pricey -- but good. It's the anti-virus we use at Newbie.org.

The DOS version of the software is free. But you have to run it from DOS. Kinda a drag. But also a major bit of good news if your windows is so trashed by virus that you can't run aps. With F-Prot you can boot from a bootdisk, run the in dos-only mode, fix stuff up then go back into Windows.

Anti-Virus for DOS -- Download the free F-Secure Anti-Virus for DOS (free for home use) by anonymous FTP from our FTP site. Only the DOS version of F-Secure Anti-Virus is free. The other versions are either for 30 days-evaluation or commercial ones.

KAV
Kaspersky Antivirus (KAV) by Eugene V. Kaspersky is an advanced integrated anti-virus application package. As shown in numerous independent tests, KAV is one of the best anti-virus program available today. It's state-of-the-art scanning technology allows it to deal with even the most complex known polymorphic viruses, and thanks to it's unpacking and extracting engines, KAV does not stop from tracking down viruses even in runtime-compressed and archived files.

BroadBand Reports Security Complete List -- We've listed about the few virus programs that we consider most important. For a more complete list, check out this page by the good people at Broadband Reports Secuity Forum. You will find more freeware programs and several programs well worth the registration fee.

2.5) Use Online Virus Scan
It is a very good idea to doublecheck for viruses by doing an online scan periodically -- maybe once a week, once a month. Depends upon you. Just be sure to do a scan every now and then to make sure your computer softare package has not missed anything. It's like proof reading. It's always best to have a couple people do it.

Below are a several online scans services. There are many more. Please be careful. There is a new trick.... some less than decent folks are putting up anti-virus scans as a way to break into your system. You will notice that Norton and McAfee are not on this list. We left out Norton and McAfee,as their scanners only detect.

HouseCall Online scan
Panda Active Scan
RAV Online scan
eTrust Online Web scanner

3) Use a Firewall
A firewall is a piece hardware or software that acts as a protective barrier (i.e. wall) between your computer and the rest of the world through the Internet. It helps guard against hackers, computer viruses, and worms. You need a firewall. Click here for a partial list of firewalls. Or, visit a site such as Download.com to view a complete list.

I use ZoneAlarm because it has a free version and is relatively easy to install and run.

XP Built-in Firewall
XP has a built-in firewall. Don't know how good it is since I avoid XP like the plague. But, if you buy a new computer that is your only option. (I build my own so I can use my preferred OS).
Thing is if you are reading this then you most likely have WinXP. Well, in that case follow the link above for instructions on making sure your firewall is on.
That should be it.

Zone Alarm
Zone Alarm has three versions of its firewall program. ZoneAlarm, ZoneAlarm Plus, ZoneAlarm Pro. Check out the comparison table to select which version is best for you. I use the simple ZoneAlarm because I don't need all of the extra features in Plus or Pro -- and it's free.

Sygate Personal Firewall
FREE for personal use, Sygate Personal Firewall 5.x provides best of breed security in a user friendly interface, protecting your PC from hackers, trojans and DoS attacks. New features include full-ICS support, protocol driver level protection, enhanced logging, and more. Sygate Personal Firewall is the first FREE personal firewall to offer protection from malicious code intrusions, keeping the information on your PC safe and private.

OutPost Firewall
The FREE version of Outpost Firewall offers a basic protection solution for casual web surfers and low budget systems. Download the free version now. Please note Agnitum does not provide personal Support Service or any other advice via email for Outpost Firewall FREE.



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