What is Spyware Adware and Malware?

Spyware is usually a program or cookie collected while you access the internet.  It is a way for companies to collect anonymous user data and then sell the resulting demographic information to marketing companies.  Sometimes it can be more annoying and slow your computer down.  Adware is the stuff you see (also when accessing the internet) that throws up ads (different from pop-ups) asking you to buy something.  Lastly Malware is by far the worst of the group.  Malware can completely take over your machine, send emails using your address book, make it impossible for you to access the internet, disable protective programs (anti-virus and such) and can even cause your system to fail.  The general rule of thumb here is stay on websites you know and trust and only open emails from people you know.  NEVER click on a link in a email the takes you to a secure site (Banking, credit cards and the like) unless you are absolutely sure it is from the named organization.  Of course…make sure you have both anti-virus and anti-malware software running and updated on your computer at all times.  It’ll save you a lot of pain.

Why is my computer slow?

As stated above, an infected computer can be the cause of slowness.  More than likely though your machine is in need of a tune-up.  Just like your car, computers get “dirty” over time.  You collect files while surfing the internet; there are also leftover files from the installation or removal of programs.  You might need to be updated with the newest versions of software, or their updates and security packs.  Generally it’s a good idea to have your computer checked at least once a year and/or at the first sign of problems.  Failure to perform regular maintenance can cause catastrophic problems, not the least of which is losing your data.

Why are computer backups important?

Do you backup your computer? Would you be upset if you lost any of the files you have on your PC? If your hard drive crashes with important data on it, it could cost upwards of $1000 to get your data restored.  If you want a simple and inexpensive solution, try Carbonite. It’s a cloud based backup solution that requires nothing but an internet connection to work and only cost $59 a year; $5 a month for peace of mind. Once it’s setup, you don’t have to do anything; it will work in the background and won’t slow your machine down. Works on both Macs and PCs.  http://partners.carbonite.com/nerdzit

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