Under Attack!

Running software that protects your PC is no longer optional. If you don't, you're part of the problem.

The largest virus outbreak in history hit millions of computers around the world this past August. Even before Microsoft Corp. and millions of victims could find a way to cope with the Blaster worm and a spate of imitators and mutations, Sobig began to live up to its name—with a vengeance.

Headline-making malware—viruses, worms, and Trojan horses—have managed to find a surprising number of unprotected PCs, despite the computer industry and media repeatedly urging people to use antivirus and firewall software. Some of the computers Sobig attacked had outdated antivirus software installed or none at all. A May 2003 study for the National Cyber Security Alliance conducted by America Online concluded that 62 percent of broadband consumers were not running up-to-date antivirus (AV) software.

But AV software alone isnt enough these days: You need a firewall, too, and privacy controls and spam filtering can further protect you. The AOL study also showed that 67 percent of broadband consumers did not have properly configured firewalls.