- Use a hardware router, even if you have only one computer.
- Change your router's default password to ensure that intruders can't fiddle with your settings.
- Use a bidirectional personal firewall, such as ZoneAlarm.
- Turn on automatic updates to keep your Windows OS secure.
- Use both antivirus and antispyware utilities, and make sure that you keep them up-to-date.
- Configure file sharing carefully if you're sure you need it--and if you don't need it, turn it off.
- Use the strongest Wi-Fi encryption scheme that all of your wireless equipment supports.
- Turn off ad-hoc Wi-Fi networking and automatic connections to networks you're unfamiliar with.
- Install a second router to isolate at-risk PCs on your network (for details, see "Add a Second Network for Safety").
- Use a VPN when traveling, to avoid picking up a virus that could otherwise spread to other PCs on your network when you get home.
For more tips on secure computing, visit the Spyware & Security Info Center at PCWorld.com.