4. Guard Against Nasties

Programs such as spyware and malware are installed on your computer—typically without your knowledge—to gather and refer information about you to advertisers and other interested parties. Without your knowledge, spyware and malware can be easily installed when you access certain Web sites or download certain programs (e.g., file sharing programs). These programs do a number of things besides gathering information about you. For example, they can

  • slow down your computer,
  • slow down the campus network,
  • significantly increase unwanted pop-up windows, and
  • cause your browser to open to a different or undesirable Web site (called "hijacking").