Most people think that something as common as the Internet would be safe, but that’s far from the truth. In all reality, the websites that people visit every day are at risk of installing harmful programs on their computer. Even worse, this can all be done without the owner of the machine even knowing. These programs are known as malware and include computer viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, worms, and more. These programs cause various problems depending on how severe the infection is. If a particularly bad piece of malware invades the system, it can destroy data on the machine, slow the computer down, even steal the owner’s identity. If that’s not bad enough, the United States is ranked number one in countries that have the most infected web pages. All it takes is one visit to these pages and a computer can become infected. Despite malware being a major problem around the world, there are several methods that users can use to protect their systems. The first is always to use unique and secure passwords for every login account. Using the same password, even if it’s for a different website, still makes it easier for viruses to infect the machine. Another important tip is to keep the computer system and browser up-to-date at all times. Since malware is constantly evolving, companies release updates periodically to help better protect the system. Even if a virus does get through, it can be removed with the use of an anti-virus or anti-malware program. These can be downloaded for free from a secure website.