3 Security Habits To Make

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for the low-lifes who make your computer life miserable.

Here are 3 Security Habits you need to adopt that will help protect you.

Avoid Piggybacking

Piggybacking is the practice of inserting a different software app in the download of a desired software that someone may download.

One example of this is the Yahoo Toolbar that piggybacks on dozens of software apps. This software is innocuous and can help you if you want to use it. I don't. I like the toolbars I'm currently using just fine.

The problem is that there are other software apps that piggyback that range from annoying to damaging. Many of these apps don't show on the initial install screen so you don't have a chance to stop the install. Even worse is when these apps are deliberately hidden.

Lately, some perfectly good freeware has become the victim of spammers who infect it with spyware so be very careful when downloading freeware.

The answer? Always choose Custom Install so you can pick and choose what gets downloaded.

Zango Lives

Avoid any window that pops up and offers you free access to live TV shows with the Zango toolbar. Zango supposedly pays for your access to premium content by showing you contextual advertising based on your browsing habits. If you choose, comparison shopping offers will then be shown to you in a sidebar by ShopperReports, another toolbar.

If you're an adult, you know nothing is free. If you keep up with Net news, you know that Zango was an adware company that declared bankruptcy last January. Blinkx, an A/V search engine purchased their assets.

Fortunately, both Zango and ShopperReports toolbars can be uninstalled using "Add or Remove Programs" in your Control Panel.

However, when confronted with the window asking if you want to install, and you click Cancel, another window pops up asking if you're sure you want to cancel the Zango install. Here's the tricky part. You have to click OK if you want to cancel (you click cancel if you want to continue. Read carefully before you click.

Scan iPod

If you decide to save some money and purchase a refurbished iPod, even from a reputable seller, be careful.

Plug a USB cable into the device and to your computer and run a virus scan on the iPod. There's been anecdotal evidence about used or refurbished iPods having worms or viruses on them. That's because iPods and other devices like them store files. They can get infected too without the owner or retailer knowing they are.

Takeaway Truth

Ben Franklin said: "In the beginning man makes the habits; in the end, the habits make the man." When it comes to computers, I'll paraphrase: "In the beginning the computer user makes the habits; in the end, the habits either destroy or maintain the computer."

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