A computer expert explains how ‘spyware’ gets on your Windows computer:
I set up a dummy XP Pro machine (unpatched, since that’s how Joe Average’s machine will likely be even if he does have broadband and knows how to use WindowsUpdate) and started browsing around for a couple of days as I normally would. I installed no applications other than those that came with XP. At the end of my test period, I had a couple of dozen different unauthorized apps running that entered the system solely through the browser. No warnings, no click-throughs … just stealth downloads. The test machine was a reasonably fast 1.4GHz Athlon but it was decidedly sluggish at the end.
The moral of the story is: (1) get an Apple computer, if you possible can –learning a new operating system is not any harder than taking the various affirmative steps to protect your Windows computer (steps that, as the author points out, most people don’t take); and (2) stop using Internet Explorer and use a browser like Firefox. I use Internet Explorer at work only when I have to. And everytime I use Internet Explorer I can see the demons fighting to get in the door. It’ s like a bad teen scare movie, at least in the sense that the plot is so predictable and the creatures so offensive and evil.
P.S. If you want a better practice, check out this Ultimate Guide.