If you are going to hook up your computer to the internet without having any up to date internet security software in place, be aware that you could get compromised before you can even blink your eye.
It is highly recommended to at least have a working anti-virus program installed before going online.
If you don't take this precaution, your computer will be very vulnerable to infection. Your computer, being a security risk, also means that you put other people at risk by spreading viruses or other malware from your infected computer.
Essential computer internet security software
- Anti-virus program
- Anti-spyware/malware program
A virus replicates itself and once it is activated starts wreaking havoc, like erasing files or in the worst case scenario preventing your computer from starting up.
These days most anti-virus software will provide both virus and spyware protection.
Keep in mind that a dedicated anti-spyware program will generally do a much better job of protecting you from spyware than a standalone antivirus program. A combination of both programs will provide a more complete protection against the wide range of malware threats on the internet. They are similar, but complimentary programs. All commercial anti-virus programs also come with an e-mail scanner,
Last but not least, you should have a firewall in place.
A software firewall usually means the difference between an anti-virus program and an internet security suite. The latter always comes with a bundled firewall. The firewall monitors and controls which applications are allowed to get access to the internet and vice versa. The danger of a software firewall is that it can be quite confusing to configure for the average PC user. That is why a router,a hardware firewall, is preferable to a software firewall.
The above is the basic internet security software everyone should be using while going online. All the programs are available in their free or commercial versions.