I was talking with Pat via IM, and he offered his recipe for being secure with your online computing:

  1. Use a NAT router - never expose your computer directly to the internet
  2. Run firewall software - something outgoing and incoming is nice, but the regular windows firewall is probably OK. Defense in depth! A laptop on wireless can bring threats into your network.
  3. Turn on automatic updates and be sure to install them
  4. Don't click stuff you don't recognize and trust
  5. Run AV software

If people did those things, there probably wouldn’t be problems.

He also says that 2 and 5 are optional, but very helpful. If you just follow a policy of keeping your computer safe all the time, it’ll make it so that the software/hardware doesn’t have to work as hard to protect you.

MS only really have 3 steps. I think that the NAT router is more important than firewall software, personally, but it's good to protect the machine specifically, too. Both is best.

Good enough for me. Secure yourself!