A lot of people use Windows operating system or Mac. Microsoft Windows is often the choice for people buying pre-built computers from a mega electronics store. It usually comes pre-installed with the latest hardware, anti-virus software and operating system bundle. These days you may have Norton pre-installed with other "bloatware" that slows your computer down.
Interesting as it may seem Mac and Windows can both acquire malware(also blanked virus) infections. It's almost against computer science law for a Mac not to acquire a malware infection. However, since when dealing with my clients Windows is usually the problem operating system -- I will discuss how to secure a home PC running Windows.
With Chinese hackers, NSA spys, people pivoting and scanning massive amounts of IPs through a proxy server in Vietnam - it pays to be secured. Companies usually hire out ethical hackers whom which are legally certified by governing bodies around the world. These people are logged into a database to assure only "ethical" practices of the tradecraft. These Certified Ethical Hackers are contracted to secure networks, but for a very heavy bill -- aka lots of money!
For free, I will give you some tips on how to secure your Home PC running Windows without having to go through much hassel or fuss:
1. Use a firewall
From my experience, Windows Firewall is just not enough. A hack easily bypass it with a few creative scans using a easily to download program. I would advise people switch to firewall like Zone Alarm.
2. Secure your router
Now, this may be complicated for the average computer user since it can become highly technical. Usually, advanced hackers(or some would call 'super hackers') enjoy changing the whole operating platform of their router to add custom settings. However, for you there will require a different approach -- hiring someone out. An experienced person should be able to help you secure your router and wireless connection
If this part of your personal network is not secure you leave yourself open to ID theft, theft of internet service or someone committing hack attacks from your location - big trouble.
3. Have someone from a scan on your network
I haven't heard of many computer consultants doing this, but this would be great. Actually, scanning and running hack attacks on the network as a hacker would to secure it before the bad guys get to it. Hey, you never know, if you own a site like Wordpress it would help to have these same test ran on your blog there also. Wordpress has become an easy target for hackers because of rogue plugins and lack of Wordpress platform updates -- not on my part of Wordpress I may add.