Anti-virus software protects you, your privacy and your money.
Viruses are bad news. They steal personal information, take over your PC, pop up unwanted adverts and they can even use your computer to attack other people's computers.
You may also hear them called malware, trojans, spyware or adware.
Anti-virus software protects you against all of them.
To work properly, anti-virus software has to download updates regularly over the internet. Out-of-date anti-virus software will have flaws.
Any file with no extension (eg just named ‘file’) or a double extension (eg file.wow.jpg) is almost certainly a virus and should never be opened. Also, never open an e-mail attachment that is unknown to you and in particular contains a file ending with .exe, .pif and .vbs because these are commonly used with viruses.
It is a good idea that you install anti-virus software if you don't have any already. There are many effective programmes to choose from, but the most common commercial products include McAfee†, Trend Micro, Sophos, Symantec and F-Secure. It is also possible to obtain free anti-virus protection from Microsoft Security Essentials, Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus, Avira, Avast and ClamWin.
†McAfee® software download is only available to PC users.
However, be sure to visit the genuine site because there are many fake products claiming to protect your computer but which may actually infect it with viruses.