Silent Killers

Way to often, I hear complaints from people stating that they need a new computer. The reason is usually that their system has become so slow that it is unusable, and in some cases it crashes. These same people will spend hundreds of dollars on technical support and antivirus software, and their system continues to perform poorly. In many of the cases that I have seen, the reason for the poor performance is due to operator error.

BewareWhile hardware in a computer can go bad, it is usually not the reason people complain about their computers. There are some that are quick to point these types of problems as being a MAC or PC issue. The real issue comes down to what people knowingly and unknowingly install on their computers.

I see people that will often times install applications, and never read the through what is being installed. Users will trustingly click through everything until the software installs, and in some cases you maybe installing other applications that you were not aware of. Have you ever installed Java, and noticed that it is sometimes packaged with the Ask Toolbar? Toolbars are notorious for killing the performance of a computer, because they run constantly. I have seen computers where they have five or more toolbars from various companies, and the user is never sure where they came from. They all have say at some point that their computers are broken. Sometimes in these cases, uninstalling the toolbars will help tremendously.

There are other applications that are packaged with toolbars or other unnecessary things, and we willingly install them because we don't read what is being installed. In some cases, we install thing that we were never given the option to accept or deny. These hidden applications can come from something as simple as viewing a website, downloading a file, or opening an email attachment. Whats dangerous about this is that you could unknowingly be installing various types of malware that could do more than just kill the performance of your computer.

The obvious question I get on this is why doesn't the antivirus software pick this up and stop it? Most antivirus software is designed to stop "known" attacks from malicious software. They are not always effective at stopping attacks that are not widely known, which are referred to as zero-day attacks. Also, antivirus software does not always stop things that are harmful to the performance of a computer. Many of these toolbars or unknown applications maybe harmless by themselves, but if enough of them are installed, you could be harming your computers performance. 

True computer security is a tiered topic and can become a complicated situation. The best way to protect your computer and your information is for you and others that use the computer to know what they are clicking!


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