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Digital Makeover: Learn How to Protect Yourself Against Viruses and Malware #30DaysofGOOD

These free articles and resources can help protect you and your digital devices against bugs, worms, and other Internet nasties.

30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD) is our monthly attempt to live better. This month we're focused on improving the way we use technology.

Last week, computer-security company McAfee released its latest research on malware, spam, and viruses (pdf). The new data paints a dismal picture, showing the largest surge in cyberattacks to occur in four years. McAfee says it has identified more than 8 million new types of malicious software in the past few months alone. And unlike in previous years, these threats aren't limited to only PC users.

"Attacks that we've traditionally seen on PCs are now making their way to other devices," said Vincent Weafer, head of McAfee Labs. "This report highlights the need for protection on all devices that may be used to access the Internet."


Today's task is to learn how to protect yourself and your digital devices against viruses, bugs, worms, and other Internet nasties. Like we said when we talked about the need for creating better passwords, there may not be a way to fully guarantee online safety, but there are several things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you'll be the victim of malware.

The FBI offers a basic (but quite valuable) guide to protecting your computer, with tips for using firewall software and keeping your operating system up to date, plus suggestions for safer web surfing.

Although Windows IT Pro generally focuses on tech solutions for the professional IT community, the site also has some great resources for average users like you and me. This directory of free programs for keeping your Windows PC secure includes web-based tools, browser plug-ins, and downloadable software.

If you're a Mac user, take a look at Wired's guide to checking for malware. It's part of Wired's collaborative How-To project; since it's in wiki form, you can make edits and add your own Mac security tips.

FInally, be sure to bookmark PCWorld's recent article about protecting your smartphones and tablets. It's got explanations of all the different online threats, and offers practical tips for finding a comprehensive security solution for your specific collection of devices.

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