In addition to using good, effective anti-malware tools, users should also consider changing some of their Internet 'habits', as this can also reduce the risk of falling victim to this type of malware
The fact that nine out of ten computers contain spyware is an indication of the tenacity of this type of malware, which will exploit the slightest chink in computer defenses to infect systems. For this reason, only the best protection will do.
The basis for effective protection against spyware is the use of an appropriate technological solution, integrating reactive and proactive technologies. Nevertheless, users' habits when using computers and the Internet have a direct influence on the chances of a system becoming infected by spyware. With this in mind, the following practical tips are designed to help users drastically reduce the chances of their computers being infected by this type of malware:
- As a lot of spyware enters computers by exploiting software vulnerabilities, it is important to install the latest security patches supplied by software vendors.
- Carefully read the user licenses of each program that you install on your computer, in particular freeware and shareware versions. Very often, these types of programs install some kind of spyware on the system (in return for using the application).
- Take care when entering addresses in your browser. Some spyware creators are using web pages -specially designed to download spyware- with domain names similar to those of other famous sites (googkle.com is just one recent example). The aim is of course, to take advantage of simple user typing errors to install spyware on their systems.
- Don't download pirate programs, music, films, etc. Regardless of any legal questions, these types of files are a rich source of all types of malware, including spyware.
- Stay away from underground sites (those related to illegal downloads, hacking tools and techniques, etc.). Not only are these pages often designed to download spyware automatically, but they may also contain applications which, when installed, can drop all types of malware onto systems.
According to Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs, "In order to protect against spyware, it is important to have an anti-malware suite which detects both known and unknown spyware. But bear in mind that nothing is infallible, and therefore the way people use the Internet should also be geared towards reducing the chances of encounters with malware. Just as no one in their right mind would think of taking a tight bend in a car at 150 mph, no matter how advanced the car's safety systems, neither does it make sense to surf pages infested with malware, regardless of how good your protection is."