Ever since the advent of the Web in 1990, owners of personal computers with Internet connections have had to worry about the problems it can cause. There had been crackers - also known (erroneously) as hackers - since the 70s, but the real problems started shortly after the web was created.
It wasn't long before viruses, trojans, worms and attacks started. Less than a decade later, spyware was rampant and all kinds of viruses were common. Anyone who knew anything had anti-virus software, and some people even had firewalls. As cable, DSL, ISDN, and other forms of broadband became common, the problems worsened. Spyware protection soon became necessary, as well as a good firewall and regular patches from Microsoft.
Use a router for improved security - How much?
That leads us to modern times, when an unpatched computer running Windows XP with no firewall will get a worm within an hour. The vast majority of PC users only know enough to get anti-virus; most don't know what a firewall is; few know that spyware is as big a threat as viruses, if they know what spyware is at all; finally, only a handful know how to actually fix problems after they've occurred without simply taking their computer to a "professional" or simply reformatting it.
By the end of this guide, you should know how to prevent viruses, cracker attacks, and spyware, as well as how to remove viruses and spyware after your computer has already been affected.