Spyware and Trust. A Very Modern Dilemma.
With the explosion of spyware that we experience nowadays, together with the more harmful Malware and Trojan variations, we are left wondering again and again how such pieces of software find their way to our computer.
We are that entrenched in the culture of computer security that almost any computer in existence nowadays has at least an anti virus program, an anti spyware program and a firewall installed, it’s the common-sense approach. Yet we continually spot new worms, new intrusive spyware and of course viruses almost every time we run a check.
The weakest point of entry which worms, pop up software and spyware in general use to penetrate computer systems lies not in the computer but somewhere else. The entry point is usually the human operating the computer.
Spyware: Between Effectiveness and Paranoia
In order to effectively use a computer we must invest a certain amount of trust, especially when communicating online. We must trust our friends that they do not pack spyware in the e-mail attachments they send, we must trust the web-sites from which we download our programs that they won’t install spyware, we must trust the links that are sent to us via instant messenger by our collaborators and we must trust the online payment processors with the idea that they won’t rob us blind. Without trust, the web would be a much more unfriendly place.
However this degree of trust must not be all encompassing. It is a balancing act. We must judge every item on the web according to its merit and be skeptical whenever possible. Even if we are talking on IM with friends that we trust, it is still better to check the attachments they send, even if we heard good things about a site, we should still check their policy and fine print and finally even if we trust a payment processor it is still better to employ all the safeguards allowed to avoid nasty surprises. Spyware, viruses, worms and Trojans do not rely on mere trust to replicate, they rely on misplaced trust, which is a totally different thing and one you should learn to avoid.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine! It is recommended that computers should be regularly scanned for infections from spyware, Malware, Trojans, etc. You can download a copy of Systweak AntiSpyware here, for a Free Scan.