To keep your data from being defaced and/or destroyed when logging on to the internet when using a Windows computer, you MUST have the following (this is a bare minimum, not what you “should” have) unless you want your computer to be taken over my the miscreants of the computer world:
- Firewall – IE: Blackice, XP’s firewall (free but sucky), hardware firewall
- Pop-up blocker – IE: GoogleToolbar, Mozilla’s blocker, Earthlink’s blocker
- Spyware blocker – IE: Ad Aware, Spybot Search & Destroy
- Virus Scanner – Norton, Symantec, McAfee, AVG anti-virus
- Spam blocker – IE: Spamkiller, your ISP, Cloudmark
You’ve got to install, configure and know (at least in general) how each of the program works so that it doesn’t ruin your internet experience. This sucks. I remember when the internet was a happy, smiling place.