A lot of people neglect security on their computer systems. It varies in seriousness, but I prefer to be extra safe. You should at LEAST use Anti-Virus and Firewall protection, if nothing else. For AV I recommend PC-cillin ( www.trendmicro.com ) or AVG Anti-Virus ( www.grisoft.com ) For firewall I recommend Kerio ( www.kerio.com ) or Sygate ( www.sygate.com ) But beyond thins, you should also run weekly or monthly adware/spyware searches using Ad-Aware ( www.lavasoftusa.com ) and/or Spybot ( www.safer-networking.org ). This will eliminate web trackers and other obtrusive applications that piggy-back on other software. It's also a good idea to add some preventative measures as far as adware and spywar are concerned. For that, I suggest Spyware Blaster ( http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html ). This will prevent malicious ActiveX scripts from finding their way onto your system in the first place. Now you should protect your e-mail. This means password-protecting your Outlook (or whatever) Personal Folder File (.pst). By default, your e-mail, contacts, and basically all your mail settings are stored in one huge file and this file is totally unprotected. Password it and give it at least SOME level of proteciton. Open Outlook, go to File > Data File Management > Settings > Change Password. You can also set the encryption level here too. You probably have a lot of internet accounts. They may or may not have the same password, and you probably even forget a few of them. Whatever the case may be, I try to take some time each month to change all my account passwords. This means creating a new password at least 8 characters long, with letters and numbers, prefereably random. I usually create three random passwords and distribute them among my accounts. Say for example I have 9 accounts online. I would use Password #1 on Accounts #1-3, Password #2 on Accounts #4-6, and Password #3 on Accounts #7-9. This way you're secure, and if one password is compromised, you haven't lost all your accounts. The next step is to get some OS-level protection. Make sure your user account has a password and that no important files are viewable on a LAN. Next, I would use an encryption program such as PGP ( www.pgp.com ) or TrueCrypt ( http://truecrypt.sf.net ). These programs will let you encrypt files or even create an entire encrypted "disk" for you to store files on. I recommend either 256-bit AES or 4096-bit RSA keys, nothing less. You should also clear out any cached passwords on your system. A quick way to do this is with Can & Abel ( http://www.oxid.it/cain.html ). Install and run Cain and then hit the + icon. Now delete anything that contains personal info, especially passwords.