I hope that the information here will prove useful in keeping your computer systems up, running and secure.
Here are my three basic rules for practicing "safe hex"
1. Purchase and install good anti-virus software and keep the data files current.
2. Never open any email attachment that you did not request or expect.
3. Do not install any software on your system you do not know, trust and NEED.
Also do not modify your system or forward warnings unless you are absolutely positive about the source of the information (see below).
Where to direct all those people who keep sending you the latest "killer virus running amok over email on the web" notices
The Internet provides fantastic increases in access to information and risks to your system. If you are running an "always on" connection (DSL, Cable Modem etc.) you have to run a firewall of some kind to protect both yourself and the rest of the Internet. Even with a dial up (modem) connection it is still good practice to have one. Besides stopping outsiders from access to your system it can block programs loaded on your computer (with or without your knowledge!) from accessing the Internet without your approval.
I recommend Zone Alarm from Zone Labs. I have installed their software on both mine and my clients systems and have been more than satisfied with the results. Steve Gibson, who I consider a great source of information, first turned me on to them. You can visit Steve's website to use the "Shields Up" test on your system and get some straight talk on security in the Internet age.