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Spyware and Adware

Surf in a Virtual Browser

SUMMARY: For enhanced protection when browsing the web, surf in a web browser inside a virtual machine.

If your machine contains sensitive information and you are concerned about the risk of spyware and adware, one option is to surf the web in a virtual browser.

Through applications such as VMware, you can start a virtual operating system, usually a UNIX-based system, running inside your computer. Think of it as running another computer inside your computer.

If you execute a web browser, such as Mozilla Firefox or Opera, from this virtual operating system, even if the browser became infected, it is extremely unlikely that it could harm your computer as a whole. In a vast majority of cases, all the malware could do is infect your 'virtual' operating system and browser, so all you would need to do is erase it and put in a new, clean version.

Though some may consider this option a little extreme, especially if they already have a firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware software, update their operating system and software regularly, and use a non-Internet Explorer browser, this option is available.

Setting up a virtual browser, however, is not a simple point-and-click process and may prove too complicated for beginners. For more information:

* Browser Appliance Getting Started Guide (vmware.com)

* "Surf The Web In Complete Safety" (spywareinfo.com)

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.