You must protect yourself and your computer. There are people out there intent on hurting you. They sit around all day dreaming up ways to break into your computer. They want to steal your credit card numbers and your passwords and usernames. They will gladly take your banking information. An unprotected computer is often violated within 20 minutes on the Web. Gibson Research Center
You can protect yourself.
First, get a good anti-virus program. There are several shareware programs that are free. You can use those but virus protection is too important to trust to free. C:D:S Computers recommends that you get either Norton Anti-virus or McAfee Anti-Virus. You probably received virus protection with you new computer purchase. They usually only give you a 90 day subscription. You must renew and you might as well do it immediately. They should credit you for the 90 days. Yes, it will cost between $30.00 to $50.00 per year, but that is an essential investment. You do not need to purchase your firewall or spyware protection from your anti-virus provider.
After installing your anti-virus software, make sure you have the automatic updates turned on. Make sure it scans incoming and outgoing emails automatically. Scan your entire system at least once per week.
Secondly, get yourself a good firewall. Don't automatically trust Microsoft's Firewall. Zone Alarm is free for home computers. They offer anti-virus and spyware but you don't need anything except the firewall.
Next, you need protection against hack-ware, spyware and hijackers. Download and install Adaware from Lavasoft. Again, while well worth an investment, this is a free package for home use. It will not automatically check your computer nor get the updates. You have to do that manually and you should do that at least once per week. If you download games and music, you should run Adaware after any new install or download.
Both Adaware and Zone Alarm have professional versions that you can purchase; that have great features. But you don't necessarily need them.
After you have your protection in place, visit GRC.com and follow the prompts to Shields Up. You want to test your firewall. You want to scan your ports. Scan all service ports. There are about 5 pages to go through to get to the test page. You could shortcut in but read each of the pages as you go there. The more you know about the process and how it all works, the better you will be able to protect yourself.
Check back to this page from time to time to watch for any major virus alerts and or software notices.
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