There are a variety of causes, one common reason is that your security settings are too low.
Here are a number of recommendations that will help tighten them, and which will contribute to making you a less likely victim.
1) Watch what you download and where from. If you insist on using a P2P program, please read File Sharing, otherwise known as Peer To Peer. (P2P)
2) It's important to always keep current with the latest security fixes from Microsoft. UPDATED WINDOWS
ActiveX in Internet Explorer
- Even if you plan to use an alternate browser, you will have to use Internet Explorer for tasks like updating Windows or visiting any other site that requires ActiveX. Also, since Internet Explorer is integrated into the Windows core, keeping it secure is very important.
- For IE7 and IE 8, open IE and go to Tools > Internet Options > Security > Internet, then press "Default Level", then OK.In the ActiveX section, set the first two options ("Download signed and unsigned ActiveX controls) to "Prompt", and ("Initialize and Script ActiveX controls not marked as safe") to "Disable".
- Now you will be asked whether you want ActiveX objects to be executed and whether you want software to be installed. Sites that you know for sure are above suspicion can be moved to the Trusted Zone in Internet Option > Security.
- So why is ActiveX so dangerous that you have to increase the security for it? When your browser runs an ActiveX control, it is running an executable program, no different from double-clicking an exe file on your hard drive. Would you run just any file downloaded off a web site without knowing what it is and what it does?
3) Make sure your installation of Java is up-to-date. Oracle (Sun)Microsystems-Java Security vulnerability in older versions left on system
4) Let's not forget How Spybot-S&D protects against the installation of Spyware/Malware.
*It is important to note that all of the above programs/files can be run simultaneously on your system. They will work together in layers, so to speak, to help protect your computer.
However, the following suggestions are designed to only run one of each. It is not a good idea to run more than one firewall, and one anti-virus program. Running more than one of these at a time can cause system crashes, high system usage and/or conflicts with each other.
6) We don't recommend the XP firewall that comes built in to Windows. It doesn't block everything that may try to get in, and the entire firewall is written to the registry. As various kinds of malware hack the Registry in order to disable the Windows firewall, if using XP it's far preferable to install one of the excellent third party solutions.
If you choose to install a third party software Firewall remember to disable the native Windows Firewall at that time. This study on firewall leaktests may be of interest before making a decision.
7) An Anti-Virus product is a necessity. There are many excellent programs that you can purchase. However, we choose to advocate the use of free programs whenever possible. Some very good and easy-to-use free A/V programs are Avast and AntiVir. It's a good idea to set these to receive automatic updates so you are always as fully protected as possible from the newest virus threats. Microsoft Security Essentials is also an option. Remember- run only one antivirus resident at a time.
Happy safe computing!!