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.
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.