We often concentrate on ramping up the defences on one part of our PCs, but fail to secure the rest of it. PC Advisor outlines how to lock it all down.

Without fail, each month and year brings with it doom-laden tales of unproven but seemingly unfixable threats to our PCs, our browsers and our peace of mind.

Web-borne nasties we thought had been banished forever invariably come back with a vengeance, while safe actions and innocuous sites suddenly turn out to have been harbouring dangerous payloads or harvesting our personal data.

While ensuring your antivirus application is up to date, regularly applying Windows Update patches so any issues in your operating system (OS) are quickly addressed and being careful about which links you click on will all help, there are many other steps you can - and probably should - take to protect your PC.

Rather than focus on these aspects of PC security, which you know about and know you have to deal with, we thought we'd take a look at other protective measures. We start with a rundown of easy ways to ensure Vista's security is all it should be, before looking at data encryption and password protection, keeping your wireless network safe and preventing unwanted access.

And it's not just desktop PCs that need to be kept secure. Most of us use mobile devices to get online these days, so we've also taken a look at how to ensure you don't get hijacked while surfing the web, and outline ways to safeguard your laptop so its contents can't be accessed when it's not in use.

NEXT PAGE: Secure Vista in 10 easy steps

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Security masterclass index

  1. 20 ways to secure your PC from net threats
  2. Secure Vista in 10 steps
  3. Secure Vista in 10 steps: part II
  4. Secure Vista in 10 steps: part III
  5. Secure Vista in 10 steps: part IV
  6. Internet and wireless security
  7. Passwords and logins
  8. Laptop security