Most of you out there (myself included) have had to do battle with computer viruses at some point or another. Whether it's annoying malware that keeps popping up on your machine, or a virus that freezes up your computer, it's a lot easier to avoid viruses than it is to fix them. That being said, here's a couple of tips on how to protect yourself against viruses:

1.) Install a good anti-virus program. Most Internet browsers, like Firefox and Internet Explorer, come with their own built-in firewalls, but usually that's not enough. Installing a reliable anti-virus software program, along with a good anti-spyware program, can give you some much-needed extra protection.  Some anti-virus programs I'd recommend are AVG, Norton and Microsoft Security Essentials. For anti-spyware programs, go with Malwarebytes or SuperAntiSpyware (both are free and work great)

2.) Scan and update your machine often. What good is a anti-virus program if you never use it? New viruses are popping up all the time, so it's a good idea to continuously check your PC for any new infections.  I would recommend setting up your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs to run a quick scan at least once a week, and then running a full scan once a month. In addition to that, you really need to update your machine as often as you can, especially if the updates have to do with security.

3.) Avoid suspicious-looking E-mails and websites. The most common way for viruses to spread is through E-mail. That's why I never open any E-mails or attachments from contacts I don't know. Even though nowadays, most E-mail provide show you what the attachments are, like photos or videos, you should still be wary of any odd-looking attachments in your inbox. The same goes for downloads like games or music, only download them from sites that you trust.

And speaking of sites, be careful about which websites you visit. Some anti-virus programs will give you a warning when you're trying to access a site that's not secure, so it you happen upon on of those sites, take heed and try not to visit it again.

Remember, when it comes to viruses, spyware and other unpleasant things attacking your computer, the best offense is a good defense.