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4 Ways to Remove/Avoid Adware & Spyware without Spending a Dime

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Computer
Adware and spyware have reach epidemic proportions. They have turned into malware due to their viral and very aggressive behavior. With the threat of identity theft and financial fraud looming on the Internet, adware and spyware can be more than just annoying. Here are four methods to remove or simply avoid adware and spyware without spending a dime on the latest "anti-virus" software.

1. USE Firefox. If you don't use the Internet much, than perhaps you don't know much about Firefox. All you need to know is that it is a browser that works REALLY well and has great security features.

2. Do NOT USE Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is like Swiss cheese. It is open to the world by default. Microsoft is continually releasing patches to fix all the flaws in the Internet Explorer 6.X and lower versions of the browser. Although it can be "secured" by increasing the security it may loose much of its functionality once set to maximum security with certain exploitable features off.

3. Use a software or hardware firewall (not just Window XP Service Pack 2's firewall). This may sound expensive and hard to do but it is not. If you have a DSL or broadband cable connection your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may have given you a DSL/Cable router with a firewall built in. All you have to do is turn it on. This may require you to take a few minutes to read the manual.

If your ISP did not give you a DSL or Cable broadband router with a built in firewall you can spend anywhere from 20 - 60 (or sometimes even cheaper with a mail-in rebate) to get a router. If you have DSL you will need a DSL router. If you have Cable broadband ISP you will need a Cable Router. Brands such as Linksys have built in firewalls and a feature called NAT, Network Address Translation, which is very effective since it hides your real IP address from the Internet. All routers come with instruction on how to hook them up. If you want to keep you computer security free, just use a free software firewall.

4. Remove Spyware/Adware with free Anti-spyware, anti-adware software. Lavasoft's Adaware and Spybot Search & Destroy are two excellent methods of cleaning your system for free. Majorgeeks.com is a popular and trusted freeware site that has these and many other excellent spyware/adware cleaning and malware prevention tools (including free downloadable firewalls).

The best method is to use ALL of the above. Being proactive by surfing with a decent browser and getting a firewall is important, but it also helps to know about a couple of good anti-adware/spyware applications. If you get hit with a really nasty bit of malware that can not be cleaned with Adaware or Spybot, find yourself a geek. There are many great forums on the Internet dedicated to doing nothing but finding and cleaning such malware. Chances are if your system is infected with it, hundreds of others before you have been infected and have already figured out how to get rid of the malware.