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The online world has become very dangerous in recent years. With the rise of viruses, adware, spyware and phishing scams, everyone needs to know how to protect themselves. There are a lot of criminals online who are looking for an easy payday, and they must be thwarted. Poker players are part of a large group of people who need to be extremely cautious, as they frequently transfer money electronically, and could easily become victims if they are caught unawares.

Luckily, it is easy to keep your computer thoroughly protected in the online world as well. Antivirus programs, anti-spyware programs, and other such programs designed to keep computers safe are everywhere. The computer gurus are dealing punch and counterpunch in the battle for information and protection. People need to own the most up to date software to keep their computers protected.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus programs are frequently considered to be the very first defense that a person should invest in. With a working antivirus program, computers are protected from the viruses that could ruin your computer, delete important files, and steal information. In addition to having antivirus software, people should be aware of where viruses are most likely to come from.

The most common places to receive viruses from are email attachments, especially from unknown persons, and websites where the designers have more sinister purposes. However, viruses can come from anywhere at anytime, and new viruses are constantly being created, so your computer needs to have the best protection it can have. Here are my recommendations of antivirus software that I feel is excellent.

Symantec: This company offers a large array of software designed to protect your computer. The best of this software, and incidentally, the most expensive, is Norton Systemworks. Norton Antivirus is included in this software package, as well as a firewall and Norton Utilities, which helps your computer run smoother. However, you can get by with less if you consider the price to be too steep. Norton Internet Security is another very nice package.

McAfee: This company is a lot like Symantec, offering numerous software packages which help protect your computer. McAfee products include antivirus, a firewall, and diagnostic tools, just like Symantec, and all of them work very well.

Adware and Spyware

Adware and spyware are very similar to each other with only one main difference. This difference is that adware is designed to display advertisements on your computer, while spyware seeks to obtain personal information from your computer. Both adware and spyware are serious problems, and you will need the proper tools to fight back against these invaders. Malware is a term used to jointly describe both adware and spyware.

Ad-Aware: Made by Lavasoft, Ad-Aware is a free program which will eliminate most adware from your computer. It will scan your computer and bring any adware it finds to your attention, giving you the final say in whether to remove it or not. There is also an upgraded version of Ad-Aware that will continuously protect from adware, not just when you run the program. This upgraded version costs a little bit of money, but does offer round the clock protection.

Spybot Search and Destroy: This is a free program which will eliminate spyware from your computer. Spybot Search and Destroy is very effective, and is a nice counterpart to Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware. I strongly advise having both Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy on your computer to help guard against all forms of Malware.

Phishing Scams

These are the scams where you get seemingly legitimate emails from a popular online company, such as eBay or PayPal, that ask you to follow a link and enter your account information. There are a wide variety of excuses used in each of these false emails to get you to click the links within them. However, these links will bring you to a false website which looks just like the real one.

Some amateur phishers will make the mistake of not changing the URL, which is the web address shown in the address bar, to a legitimate looking URL, so it ends up looking something like…/…/…/. However don’t just look for this mistake to determine if the email is fraudulent or not. Instead, know the typical ways in which these companies would contact you and whether or not your real name is used in the email.

Professional sites such as eBay and PayPal will never request information in such a manner. If you ever do get an email like the basic phishing example I have shown you, forward the email to the company that supposedly sent it, expressing your hope that they will investigate and have the perpetrators punished.

Here is an example of a recent phishing scam email that I received from somebody trying to obtain my eBay information:

eBay Phishing Scam

Money Protection

You can protect your online poker and online casino money by using a secure online eWallet. There are not currently very many people phishing or scamming most eWallets, with the exception of PayPal. I recommend that you first check out Neteller. They are the largest and most popular online gambling eWallet and are accepted at just about every single online poker room and online casino.

Stay on Guard

There are always new viruses and malware being created. However, there is always new antivirus and anti-malware programs being created as well. It is difficult to stay updated in this fast changing environment, but you must give the effort, so that your computer may remain protected. Nothing ever stays the same, and this is especially true in the online world. Be On Guard, Always.