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The best way is to follow some simple rules for Network use.

1) Get and install a firewall application (software is now included in SP2)
2) Redundancy..Meaning, once you have a software firewall, get and install a router with a NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall.
3) Antivirus..Get, install and update regularily a good antivirus software application. By this they mean to have something thats better than "Free". Albeit, free is good for a temporary means of protection, however this statement is simply because the free ones are several steps behind the outbreaks, (but the paid ones are too, but not quite as bad). You can tell the amount of protection by the amount of updates they offer (often one a week or month, when paid suppliers offer sometimes multiple updates daily)
4) Dont download keygens, use file sharing, browse "bad" websites (you know what content this is) and click freewillingly what you dont know. (IE dont chase the popups)
5) Use strong passwords for your administrative account, adn the Run As command for your computer. Essentially, you create an administrative account adn use a strong passowrd to lock it (strong is more than 24 characters, numbers ASCII in the password).
Then you create a limited account and use this one as your every day account. If you want to install software, you would use the "runas" command (right click the ico or item and choose "run as") under the limited account. The benefit of this is if someone were to "hack" your computer, they would have limited resources, and could not run harmful applications and commands without knowing your admin password...Very Secure.
6) Keep your antivirus, spyware, Windows updated, and run scans at least weekly.
7) Pay particular close attention to changes in the OS, how it performs is a good indication of a problem. A simple lag in your boot time can mean the malware is connecting to a server and re-dwnloading a componant you removed the day earlier. You notice this, be aggressive in removal of the "crap".

Wish i could go on and on..(believe me I could) but Im sure there are other opinions here as well.
 
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