Brits love computers, in fact we spend over 31 hours a month browsing online on our PCs and laptops,* checking social media, shopping, catching up on news, sharing photographs, watching movies and checking email.

Unfortunately online threats such as malware, spyware and phishing scams can cause problems from damaging your computer to stealing your personal information.

On the internet, there are 305 new threats every minute, or more than five every second. These threats attempt to entice internet users into connecting to risky URLs (via emails, browser searches, etc.), or extract personal files and data on computers, including passwords.

These are just some of the growing threats, and there are offline dangers too with files shared through Bluetooth connections and USB sticks.

Read more about the different kinds of threats in our article What is a computer virus?

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Everyone takes steps to ensure their homes are secure and we should take the same precautions with our computers, so it’s important to install security software like BT Virus Protect which is free to all broadband customers and protects your home computer against internet threats.

Developed by BT in conjunction with McAfee, the world’s largest security technology company, it works with PCs and Macs and comes in either two- or 15-licence editions, depending on your broadband package. This means you can install it on two machines for free and if you need it on more, upgrade to a 15-licence for £4 a month.

10 ways BT Virus Protect helps keep your computer safe

1. VirusScan

VirusScan runs in the background of your computer, continually monitoring in-real time for viruses, Trojans, tracking cookies, adware, spyware, unwanted programs and threats from email or instant messaging.

If it identifies a threat, it deals with it before it can do any damage, or lets you know if you need to take further action.

2. SiteAdvisor

Some websites include spyware, spam and online scams. SiteAdvisor checks for threatening websites and warns you before you interact with them.

3. Personal Firewall

Virus Protect has a built in-firewall which protects your network, acting as a virtual gateway for incoming traffic, letting in safe traffic and blocking incoming threats including hackers.

4. Parental controls

Protect your children from online dangers with Virus Protect’s Parental Controls. Turn on age-appropriate searches, set web browsing limits and filter inappropriate websites. You can also chose to restrict access to specific websites and block access based on keywords.

5. Clean-up tools

Keep your home PC running at optimum performance with Virus Protect's health tools, including automated file, browser and browser history clean-up and disc defragmentation.

6. Spyware protection

Spyware is software that gets information from your computer without your knowledge and can make changes to your computer, slowing it down in the process. Virus Plus protects, detects and removes spyware and adware, as well as blocking tracking cookies.

7. Stealth mode

This mode allows you to use the internet anonymously, so your machine can’t be seen by hackers.

8. Vulnerability Scanner

Companies like Microsoft, Google and Adobe continually releases software updates for their software often containing crucial security updates, so it’s important to keep your machine up to date. Vulnerability Scanner installs the latest Windows updates, and those from other programs.

9. McAfee SystemGuards

McAfee SystemGuards monitor your computer for tell-tale signals of viruses, spyware and hacking activity.

10. McAfee Security Centre

Use this to review your computer’s security status, check for updates and fix security issues.

How to get Virus Protect

1. Visit My BT and log in or sign up
2. Scroll down to My Extras, look for the BT Virus Protect panel and click Get Started.
3. Follow instructions to activate Virus Protect and begin the download.
4. Download and install it, look for the McAfee icon in your system tray, which means you are protected.

*Ofcom Facts & Figures 2015

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