why do you guys download them?
most common response is... i was getting popups and the searchbar blocks them.
if you need a popup blocker.. there already is a potential problem. you are past the starting invasive phase. most site do not allow a popup style banner... except to promote their own stuff. if you are getting numerous popups, then we have a problem.
run a program that will clean the system, and that will back up what it removes. do not use a program that sweeps and cleans and does not offer a user friendly restore.
after running this cleaning phase, do not forget this is now a daily routine.
in conjunction with your daily cleaning phase, run a trojan detect program. there are plenty of these out there and i can recommend one. look for something that will perform a hard scan of your drive, and also keep scanning wile you are online. these are free, but to get the really good stuff a silly 10$ registration fee is worth it.
for the simple one every hour annoying popups run panicware pop up stopper. simple straight forward control. EOS.
as for a firewall... i do not belv in zone alarm, black ice, and the others. they slow me down. i do belv in masking your IP address.. that means be careful on kaaza, morpheus, bearshare. be careful who you email. do not respond to emails that have unsubscribe comments.
try installing a box.. a router for cable or DSL. linksys and others are great and act as a firewall.
if you recieve emails from ebay, macys, sears, banks etc that look like the real company suggesting a problem with your account... do not fill out or folloe these emails. goto the website in a seperate browser page and get the old fashioned telephone #. call customer service and speak direct about the problem. they will most likely already know about the hoaxes going on.
the machine sitting in front of you is very simple. it may seem wicked sophisticated, but it is not....
the person on the other side developing software and devious plots to get to your precious info is sophisticated. they will find a way. it is you job to make your machine just a bit harder to crack. that way they will go after some other guy.
love and kisses