Firewalls play an integral role in protecting your computer by monitoring incoming and outgoing connections. They have the ability to authorize or refuse a new connection attempt on the basis of simple rules. Firewalls reduce the risk of hackers gaining unauthorized access to your computer data and minimize the dangers of Trojan horses, spyware and worms.
Personal firewalls come in the form of software programs that can be purchased or, in some cases, downloaded free of charge. Some operating systems—such as Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux—come with a firewall already installed.
You must have antivirus software in order to protect your computer against the many viruses transmitted over the internet.
Viruses are constantly evolving—new ones appear daily—which means that your antivirus software must be updated at least two or three times per week. Most antivirus programs include an automatic update function, and you should ensure that this function is activated on your computer.
In addition to automatically downloading updates, the antivirus software that you use should be capable of monitoring your email program along with any files imported through instant messenger programs like MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.
It is also important to protect against such things as spyware and popup ads, which can transmit your confidential data.
Be sure to configure your anti-spyware software correctly so that it constantly monitors your computer and downloads updates regularly.