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Firewall Flowchart

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

I always recommend having a Software Firewall on your computer, but the one catch is that you have to know what to do when you get an alert. It's not very hard once you've seen it once or twice, but to help you walk through it, I've made this firewall flowchart:

Click on the image for a larger view

Just start at the green oval and answer the yes/no questions to trace your way through.

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Spyware Scanners

There are two types of spying programs: Adware and Spyware. The only difference between the two is that Adware is something you agreed to install at some point while Spyware never asked for your permission (you have to read all that small print when installing programs you know).

Anyway, regardless of how you got it, some software tracks your online activity and more and then sends that data back to some marketing company somewhere so they can add it to your profile. If you want to prevent that from happening, installing a spyware scanner is the best way.

Note that some anti-virus programs will scan for spyware, but leave adware alone but because ad-ware is technically legal. That's why you need to install and run a spyware scanner now and then.

Currently, we recommend Ad-aware spyware scanner.

There are several different free adware and spyware scanners, but Ad-Aware is one of the simplest to use. Just install it and run the scanner every week or so to make sure that any spyware that sneaks onto your computer gets removed.

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