Nov 222011

Passive Defense Against Malicious Software

This is the second tier of defense in your internet security arsenal. The philosophy behind passive defense is to prevent or block malicious software, adware, spyware, tracking cookies, dialers, or browser hijackers before they ever have a chance to enter your machine. This is achieved through passive adjustments to your computer and web browser to block or restrict potentially dangerous sites, prevent unwanted software from installing through webpage scripts, and generally give you a permanent layer of spyware protection that makes your computer inhospitable for such security threats.

Tracking Cookie: A Simple Example of Spyware Protection In Action

For the sake of simplicity, let’s take the most benign example from above: a tracking cookie. First, what is a cookie? A (internet) cookie is a text file that is generally used to uniquely identify you to a website so that site can prepare customized content, for example if you are logged into a site as a registered user then this might be recorded though a cookie. Depending on the site, cookies can contain sensitive information about you in plain text but are usually deleted as soon as you leave the site or shortly after. However, tracking cookies are persistent, long term cookies that can be placed on your computer whenever your browser loads a third party ad banner. Each time you visit a site with associated ads, that same cookie will record it and through this, advertisement companies can track your browsing habits and movements across the web.

At the very least, tracking cookies are a privacy concern and additionally, other spyware or malicious software could harvest your IP, email, home address, user name and password, or other sensitive details from your cookies. Simple passive security adjustments act as preemptive spyware protection by permanently blocking known bad cookies and malicious URLs. Such adjustments will also restrict sites from being able to run scripts from your browser that could potentially install malicious software on your computer just from loading their web page.

In other words, passive defense will protect you by blocking potential threats even before they attempt to enter your computer. The great thing about these types of preemptive security programs is that they do not need to be actively running for you to receive their full protection. Because the adjustments are ‘passive’ They only need to be run once in order to permanently immunize the machine. You also don’t need to worry about these programs conflicting with anything else because their protection is not coming directly from the program itself but rather from the changes and tweaks that program makes to your computer’s settings to block or restrict malicious software.

In short, passive protection makes your computer inhospitable to malicious software and provides an additional layer of malware and spyware protection that is protecting you even before your real time protection (covered in step one) has a chance to kick into gear. Since no layer of protection is 100%, there is no reason at all why you should skip passive malware and spyware protection

Our Recommendations for Passive Malware and Spyware Protection:

Spybot Search and Destory   AND   SpywareBlaster

After setting up tier 2 defenses, proceed to Step 3: Scanning and Removal