Apart from Viruses, Internet Worms and hacking attempts, there is a minor plague of lesser problems which can be thought of as "Nuisances". These include:
These often advertise utilities to block Pop-ups! There are two main types:
It can be very easy to inadvertently download small programs or scripts which track what you do on your computer and send this information "back to base". Some websites which carry advertisements can recognise you via "cookies", and want this information to target future advertisements. You may find you have more of these "spybugs" than you'd expect! Most are relatively harmless, but not all - some go looking for credit card numbers! Two utilities are widely used to detect and remove them:
They are both free to download, and appear to detect different things!
Unsolicited mass-mailings about things you probably don't want, and often very unpleasant. Volumes of Spam have exploded in the last two years, and recent reports suggest that 50% of all emails are spam. This article has good advice on how to avoid spam, and what (not) to do when you get it. You might be interested in thise more detailed paper from the Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Key tips:
If you are seriously plagued by spam, call us for advice.
Home Page "Hijacking"
You find a website appears automatically when you open your browser, and you can't get rid of it. Believed to be a common trick used by pornographers, who also register addresses which are likely mis-spellings of popular websites. Type carefully! Rectifying this problem involves editing the Windows Registry, which is not recommended except for advanced users. Call for advice if this happens to you.