Using your Firewall to Prevent Spyware
Spyware is one of the most pressing problems facing the internet today. There are thousands of these programs out on the internet that are just waiting to latch onto their next unsuspecting victim and launch hundreds of annoying popups on their computer or even worse, grab personal information to help steal the victim's identity.
There are several actions you should take to help minimize this risk. The most important thing you need to do is to keep the latest patches applied to your operating system. Spyware programs utilize known holes in operating systems and applications to install themselves on a victimís computer. Keeping your system up to date is the best way to help stop this threat.
You should also employ a firewall on your internet connection to stop these programs from taking over your computer. A firewall is a piece of software code that monitors traffic going to and from your computer and it performs actions on that traffic depending upon the rules set up for the Firewall. A Firewall is very effective at stopping spyware installation and even if it does manage to become installed ( because of a user action) you will be able to prevent the Spyware from communicating with itís creators on the Internet.
Any computer connected to the internet should have at least one Firewall protecting it from threats such as Spyware. Most Broadband routers have a firewall built in. If you configure these devices to block incoming Active X controls and Java Applets then you can reduce your risk of becoming infected with Spyware. Active X controls and Java Applets are required by some websites to adequately provide certain services. While not all of these controls are used as a method for installing Spyware, they are used as the primary means. The bottom line is the benefits that Active X and Java Applets provide are not worth the risk they pose to internet users. It is best to just disable these applications from running.
There are also firewalls available to download off the internet. Once again, you can choose between free applications and those that cost. The free ones will have fewer bells and whistles, but can perform a more than adequate job of protecting your computer. One of the best is ZoneAlarm by zonelabs.com. The free program functions as a firewall, while they also have versions for sale that include spyware, phishing, virus and spam protection. In fact, for a short time, you can Download ZoneAlarm Pro and Save $10.