Most computer viruses are acquired through email, compromised web sites, un-patched software, P2P activity (see Downloading Music, Movie & File Sharing), chatting (MSN, Instant Messenger), and disks that you borrow and use on your computer.

Computer viruses can be avoided by using and regularly updating an anti-virus software like Norton and by keeping all the software on your computer (especially Microsoft’s software) updated with the latest security fixes. Most software vendors include a live update feature in their programs and/or on their web site.

Microsoft’s Live Update feature will scan the Microsoft programs on your computer and alert you if an update is available. Start the live update by clicking on Start then Windows Update (you need to be connected to the Internet for this to work). Updates for Microsoft Office products can be found at http://office.microsoft.com/officeupdate.

Firewall software or hardware helps stop Internet users from hacking into your computer. Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista has a built-in firewall. Users of other computer operating systems will need to install one separately.

Mosaic offers a fully managed computer protection service called Anti-Virus+. Not only does it take care of virus protection (which is Norton’s Corporate Edition), but takes care of the Microsoft updates (security fixes) mentioned above and includes a firewall. More information about that service can be found here. Mosaic also offers a spam and virus protection service that will scan your incoming email for potential viruses.