I do think, that you already are familiar with the practice of safe internet browsing.
Things you should be cautious about are:
1. Do not use the default Internet explorer in Windows for recreational browsing.
If you are browsing the darker side of the internet in search for “free” or “cool” stuff, then you should know, that IExplorer always had, has and will have security issues. Because of the popularity of Windows, many viruses and other crawling cyber germs evolved around this operating system. I do not suggest switching straightaway to more robust Unix systems, because we want the pleasure of simplicity in our everyday lives, right?
So, to prevent these common pc diseases you should first try other browsing software instead. The best and fastest would be Opera or Firefox. Immediately you will see the decrease in nasty popups. After browsing clear your private data. These functions you will find in the browser menu. For example in Opera it would be so simple like Opera->Settings->Delete Private Data… Yes, the passwords also. Keep your Logins somewhere safe in a text file, archive it with a simple password, copy it on your flash drive just in case …you find something on the net so “cool”, that your PC can’t handle it… Anyway, using alternative browsers makes you immune to most mainstream attacks.
And yes, there are moments when using Internet Explorer is mandatory. For example most online banking services require IExplorer to be fully functional. Let’s assume for now, that online banking security is tight. Ticket registration services, e-stores and other sites. Just keep the practice of cleaning your pc after heavy browsing sessions, especially before logging in to perform any financial operations.
2. Get Antivirus software and update it regularly.
Cliche i know. There are plenty of antiviruses out there. Most of them will serve you well. Buy one or get one for free. I Used Norton, Mcaffe, both of them are excellent guards. There are tons of free antiviruses also. personally i like AVG. I used Avira on my older laptop for a year. Avira likes resources, my laptop did not have any left – they broke up… I do recommend that the antivirus and firewall function would be provided by the same software. All in one type of antivirus. I had issues in the past, when antivirus software of one developer conflicted with firewall software of the other developer.