More than 200 million copies of Windows XP live on PCs worldwide. With such widespread distribution, Windows XP is an attractive target for legions of wannabe virus writers, scammers, and shady business opportunists. For example, as soon as a teenager discovers a vulnerability he can exploit on his own copy of Windows, he can immediately inflict damage on millions of Internet-connected PCs across the globe.
This chapter shows how to thwart these evildoers by backing up your software regularly, creating and managing effective passwords, automatically installing newly released software "patches," and preventing the theft of your PC or laptop. You'll also learn how to avoid email scams, viruses, and spyware, and what to do if your PC's already infected.