Spyware is a threat all over the world. Criminals are tapping into spyware as a resource to help them separate you from your money. If you're concerned about spyware on your computer and you're ready to do something about it, knowledge about what spyware is and how to avoid it is one of your greatest assets.
First and foremost, if you want to avoid spyware, you'll also want to avoid freeware, or software that you can download online for free. For example, downloading a free screen saver that makes it look like you have little birds flying all over your screen or a cursor that looks like a skull or a cat's paw can seem really cool, but make you vulnerable to spyware. Freeware often (but not always) involves a functional and utilitarian piece of software with cool features and spyware riding piggyback that will install and run in the background without your knowledge. Avoiding freeware, as a general rule, will help protect you from falling prey to spyware.
Online gaming sites and pornography sites are dangerous places for your personal computer. Gaming and pornography web sites inevitably will lead you into the lion's den because so many of them are designed to draw unsuspecting users in and encourage them, via social engineering, to inadvertently download spyware. If you're frequenting these sites, it's only a matter of time before you'll get infected with spyware.
If you've been using Internet Explorer, consider switching to a different browser to protect yourself from spyware. Because Internet Explorer is used by most people today, spyware developers have tended to focus their efforts on designing software that will work through this particular browser. That means that if you switch to a different browser, you'll be less likely to run across spyware and accidentally install it on your computer.
Finally, if you're committed to staying spyware-free, then you might want to consider switching to Mac. Most spyware is designed to specifically interact with Windows. If you purchase a Mac, you will be far less likely to get infected with spyware. Indeed, it is highly improbably that you'll ever encounter a spyware problem working on a Mac.
Essentially, when it comes to avoiding spyware, not following the crowd can make a big difference. Many web sites that offer freeware incorporate social engineering into their efforts to manipulate you into wanting to download the free product. Think for yourself and don't follow the crowd to remain free from spyware.
This guest post is by Tim Edmonds, a freelance technical writer currently interested in Mac YouTube downloader.