I’ve just become the victim of an attack so pernicious and disabling it’s literally taken my breath away. This malevolent infection has left me unable to work or play.

Reader, I have a cold. Actually, strike that, I have Man Flu. It’s so bad, it may prevent me doing any DIY at all this weekend (sighs, takes beer from fridge).

After an exhaustive group test I’ve found the perfect antivirus program - it’s a spot of excercise, a liberal dose of whisky and plenty of sleep. And in the meantime I can forget about stopping my PC catching a cold.

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In my (limp lettuce) salad days, I was a thrusting young hack on a doctors’ magazine. Despite enjoying a journalist’s high regard for alcohol and an underdeveloped sense of my own safety, the presence of on-tap medical experts meant I was as fit as a meat-vendor’s canine. And not a low-rent butcher, either. I was, in effect, Fred Elliot's dog.

But access to pictures of diseased body parts and news on the latest maladies convinced me I was a consumptive wreck.

A (relatively) deep knowledge about PCs has a similar effect. Daily I sit here bombarded with reports of the latest threats and tales of nefarious scams. Sometimes I think I'll never venture online again (I tell my fellow members on the techadvisor.co.uk forums).

But as our recent antivirus tests bear witness (links below), there’s a whole industry based on keeping net nasties off our PCs. And while shelling out for protection still feels a bit Godfather, it’s worth it for the peace of mind. 'Just went the malware thought it was in, my AV pulled it right out...'

As fast as criminals find and exploit flaws, security companies patch holes. All we need do is keep our security software up to date and rein in our greed (you haven't won the Nigerian lottery because you didn't enter it, okay?).

Of course, as PC-savvy individuals, you and I know this. But we need to make sure our technologically challenged friends and neighbours are on the ball too, to keep cybercriminals on their (cloven) toes. So as you go about your daily grind, smile at a stranger and remind them to protect their PC. Knowing that you are doing a good thing will make you glow inside (as you sprint away from the weirdo-bashing hordes).

Recent antivirus reviews:

TrendMicro Antivirus plus Anti-Spyware 2007

Panda Antivirus 2007

Norton Antivirus 2007

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0

Eset NOD32

BitDefender Antivirus 10.0

AVG 7.5 Anti-Virus Professional

Alwil Avast 4 Professional Edition