You Have Twelve Minutes

According to computer security firm Sophos there have been 7,944 new viruses detected in the first half of 2005, a number 59% larger than those found in the first six months of 2004.

The firm’s report also states that the average time for a computer connected to the Internet to become infected has decreased.

From the report:

In line with this substantial increase in virus writing, is the rapidly decreasing average time to infection. There is now a 50% chance of being infected by an internet worm in just 12 minutes of being online using an unprotected, unpatched Windows PC.

All the more reason to make sure that your Windows PC has the latest security updates from Microsoft and is set to receive and install future updates automatically.

It’s also recommended that you run anti-virus software (Nod32 currently holds the crown for best protection) as well as an anti-spyware program such as Webroot’s Spysweeper or Microsoft’s own beta anti-spyware.

If you’re currently on a DSL or cable high-speed connection, a network firewall will help protect you from most attempts to remotely connect, and infect, your computer. You should, at the least, be running a software firewall, such as ZoneAlarm or Kerio Personal Firewall, both of which have free editions.

You should also consider a hardware firewall, which will provide more protection and use less of your computer’s resources. Even a simple cable router such as Linksys Network Everywhere’s very inexpensive NR041 Cable/DSL Router will aid your computer’s security significantly.

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