I still find PC’s and Laptops with no Anti Virus product or not with latest updates installed and the fire wall turned off!
As a minimum you need to have an up to date Antivirus product and an active firewall. These alone are not now adequate to cope with all the online threats. The majority of issues are now malware related so the Antivirus software now needs to include Malware/ Spyware removal and detection. Allow all Microsoft Updates to install and other software product updates to install (office, Adobe, Java etc)
Once you have all the good security stuff in place you may need to change your online habits.
I am a bit skeptical about anything which is free, no such thing as free lunch. It may appear to be free, but may well cost you latter.
Free online anti Virus popups saying that your system is badly infected and that you need to buy their software, you will end up with software which will down load adverts and use the credit card details you have provided.
Software protection need not cost:
Microsoft XP, Vista and windows 7 all have an inbuilt Firewall, Microsoft now also have a free Antivirus / Malware software.
I have been using AVG free and Zone alarm Basic (free for Home use).
Some customers have been using Comodo Fire Wall and Avast antivirus (Free for Home users).
Some links via my website
Spybot Search and Destroy
Spybot Search and destroy is very usefull for finding spyware and malware and can be run when needed along side the other products, it is very good at finding and removing problems.
Scan your system regularly to check for problems, most will automatically scan, let them scan.
If you think you have a Virus / malware then Don’t do online transaction which may expose personal information (Bank details).
The links are provided for information (check that you are happy where the download is coming from).