Viruses, Bugs, Worms, Dataminers, Spybots, and Trojan horses. The Internet is a veritable minefield of things that can invade your PC and affect it's Security and Performance.
You can do something about it and you can do it FREE, using some or all of the following programs and tips.
One of the best Free programs for this is AntiVir Personal Edition Anti-Virus software. Download it from: http://www.free-av.com Install on your PC and leave it running to block any incoming bugs or viruses! It can also be used to scan your system for any previous invasions, but be patient, this takes about 15 minutes to complete. Worth running periodically, to check all is ok.
FireWalls and Broadband.
If you are on Broadband, consider using Firewall software. Most good ISP's now supply free. (eg AOL). If yours doesn't, you can get a reasonably good Free personal firewall system from 'ZoneAlarm' at http://www.zonelabs.com . Tip ? DON'T leave your PC connected to the Internet when you are not using it! Reduce the chance of something loading while you are not monitoring things !
SpyBot finders and Ad blockers.
Various programs available on the web, both 'Paid' and 'Free'. You can get good results from using 2 Free packages that are available. These are 'SpyBot Search & Destroy' and 'Ad-Aware'. Downloads available at http://www.lavasoft.de for AD-Aware http://www.safer-networking.org for SpyBot Using both of these packages ensures that, you get with one, any 'bots' that the other one misses.
Suspect you have a virus?
If you think you already have a virus, a good Free tool for checking and killing them is McAfee Stinger. Free download at: http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp?id=stinger
Some General Tips
Get in the habit of, every time you disconnect from the web, deleting ALL files from the following folders:
Beware 'Boys Toys' and 'Freebies'! Think, if someone wants to spread a bug, get tracking software onto your PC etc, the best place for them to do it is places where you go to get 'freebies' to download! The above sites are normally 'ad free', but be aware that if you download porn, free music, free games, free software, there is often a 'price' to pay. Always use the above programs after visiting ANY of these sorts of sites!
John Roberts is a Freelance Training Consultant and Director of JayrConsulting Ltd. (http://www.jayrconsulting.co.uk) John is also an active member of TrainerBase (http://www.trainerbase.co.uk) and is always open to discussion on any training topics.