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Home Network Vulnerabilities: Spam, Cookies, Pop-Ups, Spyware, and Scams

Chapter Description

In addition to viruses and worms, there are some other annoying programs and files out there that you need to protect your home network from. This chapter focuses on spam, cookies, spyware, and scams—what they are, how they work, and how to get rid of or at least control them.

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Set Up Pop-Up Blocking on Home Computers

Blocking pop-up ads can be accomplished three ways:

  • Enable built-in Internet Explorer pop-up blocker (Windows XP SP2 with IE 6 SP1)
  • Install free pop-up blocker (such as the Pop-Up Stopper from Panicware)
  • Enable pop-up blocking in the security software bundle you purchased

We trialed the pop-up blocking in the security software bundles and found them more difficult to disable temporarily when needed than the other two methods. So we recommend either the built-in IE approach or the free pop-up stopper program.

Figure 16-7 shows how to enable the pop-up blocker built in to Windows XP SP2. In Internet Explorer, click Tools > Pop-Up Blocker > Turn On Pop-Up Blocker

Figure 7

Figure 16-7 Enable Windows XP Built-In Pop-Up Blocking

Alternatively, if you are not running XP, we recommend installing Pop-Up Stopper Free Edition from Panicware, available here:

http://www.panicware.com/product_psfree_download.html

After installation, a small white hand icon will appear in the lower left of your Windows toolbar. Right-click on the white hand and you can toggle the pop-up blocking function on and off very easily (see Figure 16-8).

Figure 8

Figure 16-8 Using the Pop-Up Stopper from Panicware

Note that there are web pages that do use pop-up windows to convey legitimate information that you ask for. So, sometimes, pop-up windows are good. There is no easy answer to this problem except you can either disable pop-up blocking and endure the annoyance, or enable it and when you run into issues with some websites, disable it temporarily.

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