By the following measures you will substantially increase your PC's protection against external threats.
You may already be using anti-virus software but to be effective the software should be updated on a regular basis with the latest virus definition files.
From time to time developer of operating systems release 'patches' to correct vulnerabilities in their programs. These weaknesses are regularly exploited by virus writers and hackers to gain unauthorized access to those PC's that have not been patched. To check for patches and updates you should visit the developer's website, typically in their Download section.
A 'firewall' is another small program that helps protect your computer and its contents from outsiders on the internet. When installed it stops unauthorized traffic to and from your PC.
There are many effective programs to choose from. Please ask your local software vendor or search in the internet.
Internet fraudsters send out e-mails requesting the recipient to verify or to update personal and financial information such as account numbers, login information, etc. By its presentation or via a link the e-mail suggests to come from a legitimate organisation. Do not respond and never click on a link in such an e-mail.
If you are in doubt you should contact the organisation in question, using your normal method of communication.
Once the fraudsters have gained access to bank accounts via phishing, they recruit unsuspecting individuals to act as go-betweens in order to cover their tracks. Recruitment e-mails promise the chance to earn money quickly for a simple service which is regarded as money laundering.
Spyware is the term used to describe programs that monitor and record the way in which you browse the web and the internet sites you visit.
Such information is of interest for companies providing services via internet. Without your agreement or knowledge, Spyware is often loaded onto a PC as part of a free download of another service.
Spyware may be used to extract personal information that you have entered. Spyware is not the same as a virus and therefore anti-virus software is not effective in identifying and removing it; you will need a specialized anti-spyware program.