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Using the internet you can very easily communicate with friends and relatives from afar-- but when staying in touch with relatives don't forget to stay safe.  Instead of just accepting whatever updates are offered to you, we recommend that you take a minute to pause before you click ok and think if it is a program you use that is wanting to update or a cleverly disguised malware vector.  In addition to watching updates being recommended to you, you should also be cautious when installing new software.  Oftentimes when installing free software from the web you will be able to choose between the "express" installation options and the "custom" or "advanced" installation options.  Users clicking "express" are presented with few choices, but by selecting the "custom" or "advanced" options you are often given a choice of whether or not to install additional programs that are often installed without a users' knowledge and can lead to all kinds of unwanted side-effects.

custom installation image

In the above example, if you're installing the software by default they will happily hijack your browser's search engine and install Search Protect malware and change your home page to some other garbage.  By choosing the "Custom installation" you can still install the software you want, without messing up your internet browser.  All you have to do is uncheck a couple of boxes.

Google is notorious for secretly installing Chrome in this fashion when users go to install Flash Player or other programs, and although it isn't technically spyware or malware I for one don't like things getting installed on my computer unless I specifically go looking for it.  You don't have to be a genius to use the advanced options so don't be intimidated by it and get in the practice of doing so when you have an opportunity.  It's a lot easier to do that than it is to uninstall each of the 3 or 4 programs that snuck in when you tried to install that absolutely essential online video player that you probably shouldn't have been installing.  Can you spot the check boxes you need to uncheck in the following image to prevent a simple Adobe Reaer installation from taking over your computer with their default installation options?

Adobe Installation default options

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