Spyware is a term used to denote files that are received
from the Internet and stored in your computer that provides information
on you or your Internet usage to a server somewhere. Malware
is any software (including spyware) that is unwanted and can
do harm to your computer or to the information stored on your
Is a cookie malware? Cookies are small
text files that are written to your hard drive when you visit
many, if not most, Web sites. These files may contain information
such as your user ID and password if you selected to have the
Web site remember your ID and password and it may contain what
links you used in the Web site and other similar information.
Cookies therefore can be good. As mentioned above, if you choose
to have a Web site remember your ID and password or other information,
the cookie is good. If you block or delete this type of cookie,
you have to enter the information each time you return to the
Web site. Some cookies help the Web site designer to obtain feedback
as to the visitors experiences on that site. Cookies can also
aid the e-commerce sites with their check-out process. In fact,
some Web pages will not be displayed if you block their cookies.
You can instruct your Web browser (Internet Explorer 6.0)
to accept cookies, block cookies or prompt you for acceptance
or rejection of the cookie. Furthermore you can select what action
be taken for first and third-party cookies. A first-party cookie
is one that originated from the Web site you are viewing. A third-party
cookie is one that originated on or is sent by a Web site other
than the one you are viewing. To select the action you would
like to take, click on the Tools menu and the Internet Options
command again and select the Privacy tab. Click on the Advanced
button in the middle of the window. Put a checkmark in the "Override
Automatic cookie handling" checkbox. Next, select what action
you wish to take for first and third-party cookies by clicking
on one of the radio buttons in each column. It is highly recommended
to block all third-party cookies. Close the windows with the
OK button twice.
Installing programs to detect (and in one
case, block) malware. There are several free programs
that you can download and install to search your hard drive for
malware and delete it. The author is currently using both Lavasoft's
Ad-aware 2008 Free and SpyBot
Search & Destroy 1.5.2. Both programs do a fine job of
identifying malware and give you the opportunity to delete it.
As with antivirus programs, you must check for updates to the
databases for these programs to insure that you are finding all
the unwanted malware.
Microsoft offers a free program to detect and block malware
for Windows XP users. It is called Microsoft Defender and can
be dowloaded by clicking on this link.
It also runs in the background and protects your computer from
malware when you are online. It automatically updates itself
when needed to make sure your have the latest malware definition.
It is said that no malware program can detect and eliminate
all malware, so it is good practice (at least for now) to run
all three programs to check your hard drive for malware.