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The Bottom Line

With the profusion of computer attacks, viruses, spyware, and the like, computing online can be hazardous—although it doesn't have to be. Protecting yourself online is really a matter of simple caution and common sense, especially if you remember these key points:

  • You can use the Windows Security Center to monitor key security functions—firewall settings, virus protection, and automatic system updates.

  • The simplest way to protect your system from outside attack is to activate the Windows Firewall.

  • Computer viruses can be avoided by not opening unexpected e-mail attachments—and by running a third-party antivirus program.

  • Antivirus programs don't protect against spyware, so you'll also need to run an anti-spyware program—such as Microsoft AntiSpyware.

  • Less dangerous but equally annoying is the problem of e-mail spam; again, there are anti-spam programs you can use to minimize the deluge of unwanted messages in your inbox.


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