Computer viruses are far more common than ever before. Social networking sites and many other websites are playgrounds for hackers and purveyors of computer viruses and identity theft. Having an up to date antivirus software program is the first step in protecting your computer from these threats. On the Internet to day, it is not a question of if you will get a virus on your computer. It will happen if you do not protect your computer with antivirus software.
There are many free versions of anti virus software, anti spyware and firewall protection. While these can prevent many common viruses, there are some pretty sophisticated viruses and hacking software out there. Good anti virus software is not very expensive, and is far less expensive than the cost of restoring your computer or trying to fix the aftermath of identity theft.
Purchase and install a reputable anti virus software package before surfing the Internet at all. Do not even check email without this protection. When the software is installed, make sure it can access the Internet so that it can update itself online. Sometimes it may be necessary to reboot the computer after your anti virus software has updated itself.
Consider setting your anti virus software at the highest security setting. If you find that you cannot access everything you want to on the Internet, you can lower your settings to allow the items you know are safe to download. New viruses, spy ware and information thieving software is being constantly developed and introduced on the Internet. An old, outdated anti virus package will not be adequate for use on the Internet today.
Most anti virus software will give you the option of running scans yourself or letting the software run in the background. Allowing your anti virus software to run in the background will give you constant protection from incoming threats to your computer.