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When I was growing up, I remember adults quipping that, "Only two things in life are certain-- death and taxes." Perhaps these days that adage should be changed to read "death, taxes, and computer viruses". Either you have already experienced the frustration of dealing with a computer virus, or you will, at some point, be the target of an attack. This should not be cause for alarm, provided you are armed with the best defense.

Choosing Antivirus Software
Begin by installing a good antivirus package. Consider the 'two Ps'-- protection and performance. Good software will protect against spyware (software that gathers a user's information without his/her consent, like a private investigator), and malware (software designed for the malicious purpose of disrupting, damaging, or destroying a user's system).

It will also perform well, meaning that it will run smoothly on a computer without sucking up too many resources, slowing your computer down. For the average small business, most extra programs that come with an antivirus package are unnecessary. Anttix has found that Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware meets both of these qualifications. Remember though, any antivirus software is an ongoing process. Use the scheduling feature to set up daily automatic updates for a time when you are not generally using the computer.

Choosing Better Passwords
In addition to good antivirus software, step up your password selection. Instead of using your favorite 'abcd' for everything from entertainment blog websites to your personal financial records, experts agree that you should:

Change passwords from time to time.
Use different passwords for different websites.
Use at least 6 characters.
Mix letters, numbers, and special characters.
Avoid single words.
Avoid obvious personal connections. Instead of using your own birthday, use someone else's birthday that you will remember.

Finally, if you hesitate at the prospect of memorizing so many complicated passwords, visit www.lastpass.com. LastPass is an online encrypted database that stores all of your passwords. As "the last password you'll have to remember", your LastPass account will automatically fill your other passwords in on the appropriate website logins when you need them. LastPass is gaining media recognition, and Anttix has recently used the site with positive results. So get creative and get safer!

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