Secure your Internet Explorer.
Many spywares and adwares exploit the features in Internet Explorer to sneak into the computer. These can be in the form of BHOs, ActiveX components or Toolbars. Once they get installed, they can create havoc in your PC! These spywares or adwares collectively called as malwares can redirect the sites you wanted to visit to some other sites, or they can bring pop ups which are highly irritating.
Since prevention is better than cure, it’s easy to prevent the installation of these malwares if we follow some simple procedures. Most of the bad BHOs and ActiveX’s can be blocked by using a tool called SpywareBlaster. One of the main advantages of SpywareBlaster is, it’s a “run once” tool, it don’t need to running in the background. Once you enable the protection feature in SpywareBlaster, you have to enable it again only when you upgrade the database of SpywareBlaster.
Access to "bad" websites (which drop malwares into computer) can be blocked by using a HOSTS file. HOSTS file is located in "Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\" folder. Whenever a website is accessed through Internet Explorer, it looks in the HOSTS file for it’s IP address, if it finds the IP address of the site in question, it uses that IP address. If it does not find address related to that site, it looks up in Domain Name Servers. We can use this property to redirect the "bad" URLs to our computer itself, so that the access to original site is blocked. This done by adding the URL that is to be blocked, in HOSTS file and provide its IP address as 127.0.0.1. There are many "readymade" HOSTS file available out there in World Wide Web, popular one is from MVPS. Just put this file in "Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\" folder and Internet Explorer automatically look into it.
Another nifty tool is IE-SPYADS, this adds a long list of sites and domains associated with known advertisers, marketers, and crapware pushers to the Restricted sites zone of Internet Explorer, thus preventing the access to these sites.
If we use some of these tools and some common sense, we can avoid most of the spywares and adwares. Happy browsing!