With every passing day the Computers are made more Secure and on the Other hand they are becoming unsecure.
There ae two kind of people: (1) Those who are making our computers secure and (2) the Deadly the Hackers and The Virus/Torjans/Spywares/Adwares creators.
Both are working very efficently in their fields. In such a situations we the End users are left with only one choice to make sure that we are protected.
There are many viruses and worms out there that could infect your computer. Not all of them are going to completely destroy your data, but they are always a hassle to deal with.
1. Be careful about using MS Outlook. Outlook is more susceptible to worms than other e-mail programs, unless you have efficient Anti-Virus programs running. Use Pegasus or Thunderbird (by Mozilla), or a web-based program such as Hotmail or Yahoo or 'Outlook Express'.
2. Install an Anti-Virus program(ex. Norton, F-Secure, Sophos or McAfee.) Also available is the free AntiVir virus scanner. Make sure you keep your virus definitions updated and run a full system scan weekly.
3. Install an Anti-Spyware program(ex. Adaware SE, Microsoft Defender), that operates against internet malware and spyware. Just like Anti-Virus, keep it updated, and do a full system scan weekly.
4. If someone sends you an attachment in e-mail or instant messaging, do not open it. If it is a picture, text or sound file (these attachments end in the extensions .txt, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .mp3, .htm, .html, and .avi), you are probably safe. If someone you know very well sends you a Word attachment or other type of file, e-mail them to ask them if they meant to send it to you. If they say yes, you can open it, but you might still be at risk if they are not good about running Anti-Virus scans or careful about what they download. Be wary of attachments with a double extension, such as .txt.vb or .jpg.exe, as the system will only recognize the extension to the extreme right, and run the file as such. Double extensions are often a good indicator that the file is malicious.
5. Do not use disks that other people gave you, even from work. The disk could be infected with a virus. Of course, you can run a virus scan on it first to check it out, but AV programs are not 100% effective.
6. Do not download software from just any old website. If it is a reputable site that you trust, you are probably safe. The threat is not only from software; don't download Word documents or other non-HTML files that have something other than one of the extensions listed above, either.
7. Set up your Windows Update to automatically download patches and upgrades. This will allow your computer to automatically download any updates to both the operating system in Internet Explorer. These updates fix security holes in both pieces of software.
8. Consider switching to a different web browser. Other web browsers (such as Firefox or Opera and now the Google Chrome) are considered to have better security than Internet Explorer; some people also see them as more flexible and extensible browsers.
10. Read about the latest virus threats so you are aware of the potential danger. Go to Symantec's or any other AntiVirus website to read about them daily.
11. Try to balance paranoia with common sense. Some people get really weird about viruses, spyware, etc. It's just a computer! Back up your data and follow these steps and it shouldn't be a big problem. Some people would suggest that you make sure you have a firewall and run anti-spyware programs as well. I'm not sure either of those will protect you from viruses, but they will protect you from hacking and from spyware. Microsoft's Antispyware and Ad-Aware are the best anti-spyware/virus programs I have found.
12. Use a software firewall! Even if you have a hardware firewall, always use a software firewall (ex. Norton, Mcafee, there's also free ones- ZoneLabs ZoneAlarm).
13. Scan things you download! Now don't be a total nut with this. But if you download something from a site that you don't know/trust, then scan it before opening it. Anything you get from P2P software you should scan, as you are getting it from a stranger. Balance scanning things with number 11, don't go nuts scanning everything you download.
PC World and other computer magazines will help you keep aware of the latest info about viruses and other things going on the Internet.
http://www.cnet.com CNET is a good place to find current updates on new viruses and security issues.
You can prevent many bugs(and ads) by blocking many sites using a host file. Like the one found here. This site also explains hosts file.
Some Anti-Virus/Anti-Spam/Anti-Malware programs are resource intensive and unless you have high system resources can slow your system during the scan process.
Many websites use ActiveX controls, which means you will have to use either Microsoft's Internet Explorer or install the Mozilla ActiveX plugin for Firefox. Many of these ActiveX controls can be malicious, so make sure you trust the author of the web page before installing any ActiveX controls.
A good free anti-spyware is Spybot Search&Destroy. This program is better than Adaware SE, the scans bring up things Adaware SE didn't detect and delete them or keep them, depending on what you want to do with the program.
Use other than Internet Explorer, as most hackers, viruses and spyware try to find computers that do and try to hack them. Try Opera, since it is so little known, nobody tries to hack it. Opera is developed by an European company. Firefox is Open Source and free and developed by Mozilla, fewer malware attacks it, however because it is well known, make sure you install updates because there are a few security holes.
There are worms that use exploits in popular programs, email in particular, to execute code and infect a system. In most cases this is the most prevalent method of worm replication using Outlook or Outlook Express. The easiest way to avoid this is to keep current with Windows Updates, and also to disable the Preview Window.
Your safety is in your own hands be Careful be safe!.....