3 December 2006
If your installation of Windows XP is lacking an antivirus program or firewall, itâ€™ll take about 8 seconds for it to become rabid and foaming with worms, viruses, and spyware. At least, thatâ€™s what this BBC article suggests.
But seriously, remember when all you had to worry about was some dork impressing his friends with some virus named after a girl that kneed him in the balls last week? That was a more innocent time.
Today, viruses have come of age. And theyâ€™re not even called viruses anymore. The biggest problems today are spyware and adware. The trouble with viruses was that their sole object was to penetrate your computer, then destroy it. That didnâ€™t make anybody rich, though, because good parasites donâ€™t kill their hosts.
The most sinister and pervasive threats have morphed into commercially propelled vehicles for privacy extraction with a view to profit. These days, when I look at a friendâ€™s computer that has slowed and showed signs of derangement from infection, I donâ€™t find a lot of viruses. But I find boatloads of spyware and adware (and thatâ€™s a metric boatload, not one of those sissy imperial boatloads).
So be aware of the threat you face now. A new enemy requires new tactics–this means your anti-spyware and adware programs are more important than ever. I previously recommended Spybot and Adaware for the newly important jobs â€“ read my review of both and find out how to get them (theyâ€™re free, of course).