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How To Prevent Your PC From Becoming a Zombie

You may know the basic facts on botnets, networks of compromised machines commandeered by hackers. But, are you aware of how to keep your own PC from being affected? Here's a look at specific steps you can take to help ensure that your computer does not end up under the control of cyber criminals.

Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep your software updated.

Good news for our Ad-Aware users: you are protected with both anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. How does Ad-Aware prevent this type of infection? Ad-Watch Live's real-time protection prevents the file that installs the bot from executing. You can also find existing infections on a compromised PC by performing a scan with Ad-Aware.

Use a firewall and make sure it's properly configured.

A firewall provides critical protection to keep your PC safe from unauthorized access. To complement your anti-virus or anti-spyware software, use a user-friendly firewall, like Lavasoft Personal Firewall, to monitor and block suspicious traffic that could be a sign of bot compromise.

Run regular security updates for your operating system, web browsers, and other applications.

Keep all of your applications up-to-date with the latest security patches. It's critical that you run Microsoft Update (update.microsoft.com) to install all of the current Windows patches. You can do this easily by setting your PC to receive automatic security updates.

Run different scanners to check for infections, including rootkit revealers. But, always make sure you're using reliable, respected security software.

Many computer users like to run a variety of different scanners to help find infections. Keep in mind - you also need to use caution when it comes to the security software you use. Rogue security software is on the rise, attempting to play off of computer user's fears about malware infections to peddle their fraudulent software. Be cautious and ensure the software is legitimate before downloading any programs.

Practice safe online behavior - click with care!

Be vigilant and use common sense when browsing the Web. You should be especially cautious when checking your e-mail or messages on social networking sites; don't open attachments or click links from unknown senders or in unsolicited messages.

For more computer safety and security tips that you can put to use today, visit the Lavasoft Security Center.

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A botnet can consist of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of zombie computers. A single PC in a botnet can send thousands of spam messages per day, often even without the user's knowledge.
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