2. Do your 3rd party updates. Java and Adobe, among others. They are generally ok, but since Microsoft is soft on security, these programs can be exploited to bring a bug to your world. If in doubt, give me a ring...
3. If you have time, subscribe to Krebs on Security, or a similar website, that discusses Windows and other updates BEFORE you install them. (You would have to turn off Automatic updates to do this). Sometimes, in their omniscience, Microsoft will send through an update that breaks a zillion computers, then will send out an update that tries to fix it, then will deny it ever happened. (Someone needs a position in government with thinking like that). There are times I wonder if this is on purpose..but I digress... (but who REALLY shot JFK???)
4. Antivirus... Pick one solid antivirus and a couple of removal products and stick with them. Antivirus products are not stronger in numbers... They conflict with each other, and, while they fight it out Mr. Virus says "Pardon me" and slips by. I reommend AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials for the antivirus and Malwarebytes Antimalware along with CCleaner as cleanup partners... My personal opinion is that Norton and McAfee, while strong, are soooo good that the resulting exhaused crawl of your poor computer is worse than a virus. It is like headlice treatments .. 3 choices...medicine, shave your head, or light your head on fire with a torch...either way the lice is gone, but at what cost??
5. Wisdom... Surf wisely. Don't shoot the bull's eye or any other game to win a free iPad. Don't trust the nice Prince from Nigeria who merely needs your Paypal and SS# to allow you to hold his money. He is actually a 13 year old kid from Singapore who collects data and makes 9 figures. Surf on familiar sites on the first few pages of Google. Read the description below the web address before going to the site. If it is a jumbled mess, pick another site.
6. Avoid adult, online gambling, dating, violent, game cheats and other categories of this ilk unless you are sure you know what you are clicking on (morals aside...these may lead to worse issues than a virus).
7. Torrents, file sharing, free download hack sites, etc... Sigh. I will word this carefully but bluntly. Think like an adult in "disease prevention" mode. If you visit these sites, it isn't merely what you do, it is what your friend does and his/her friend does, etc... Buy your software legally or expect to catch the virus the thief who gave it to you for free has...
8. Facebook and social media is also a hotbed for viruses. Periodically you will get a Facebook wall post from someone with very little in the way of description but a very clickable picture. Resist the temptation. Virus alert!!! Not only will you get a virus, the virus will send the post to every friend you have. Nothing says embarassment like your ID sharing a virus. Same with emails from social media. Read the title without clicking on them. If you need more information, go to the social media site directly. Don't click on emailed links back to social media as a shortcut to logging on to them.
9. Don't unsubscribe to odd emails/spams. Just delete them. Companies broadcast spam to a zillion potential addresses, then really go to town on those who respond. Why would a company who does not care about the anti-Spam laws respect your unsubscribe. If they try a few times to no avail, they will eventually go away.
10. If you get an odd box telling you that you are infected and showing the zillion infections plaguing your computer, the warning is likely a virus or a Phishing attempt. It will want your credit card to download the software that will fix the problem it created. This is called scareware or ransomeware. Immediately X-out of every screen and run your real antivirus and other tools. Be sure they are updated, of course. Examples of this are "Antivirus 2013", System Protector, or some other official sounding name.
11. Call me any time. I am happy to help. :)