Spyware
Spyware can slow your computer and especially your web browsing to a crawl. Just as you need to scan your machine periodically to detect viruses, you need to use one or more of the following spyware detection applications. These following applications are free but the authors DO accept donations.

Spybot Search & Destroy
can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a kind of threat that many common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. SpywareBlaster
doesn't scan and clean for spyware - it prevents it from ever being installed. Lavasoft Ad-aware
will keep your computer or network free of compromising and intrusive threats to your privacy.
Antivirus Protection
Virus authors change tactics constantly. It seems, in the past, they were "script kiddies" out to see what they could get away with. Now some have turn skills into a profitable adventure by creating "zombies" or computers they can control for spamming purposes or other malicious activities. They old way of protection was to avoid opening attachments from people you don't know. This doesn't work anymore because when a machine becomes infected, the malware can copy itself to a persons address book and mail itself out. So you receive an infection from those you know. Therefore avoid opening attachments if you don't receive specific clues from the trusted sender regarding its veracity. Or forego the latest joke in favor of safety.

Free Virus Scan

Some Remedies
With the emergence of new virae and malware all the time, it is important to have self-updating antivirus protection running on your machine at all times.

One of the best free (for home use) that we've found is Avast runs in the backgound and hasn't been known to take command of anyones machine unlike some other very expensive A/V programs we've tried.

Another highly recommended Malware (Spyware,Virus, Trojans, Keyloggers, etc.) application is This program is free to try. The purchase price is $29.95

Channels

Firewalls
A personal computer connected to the Internet without a firewall can be hijacked in just a few minutes by automated hacker ''Bots''. The only way to make your computer 100% secure is to turn it off or disconnect it from the Internet. The real issue is how to make your computer 99% secure when it is connected. Locking a car, using a "club" or installing a security system makes stealing a car more difficult. Internet security and privacy products provide adequate protection by making it difficult for "outlaws" to take control of your computer and rip you off.

Norton Personal Firewall and McAfee Personal Firewall are two well known products, neither of which is highly rated by experts or in user reviews.

The built in Windows Firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (released in August 2004) is much more secure than Windows XP-SP1, XP, 2000, ME, 98 or 95. This may actually be sufficient for most users. This is what we recommend.