So you got a new PC for Christmas, use spent more time than usual surfing the Web this festive season? While the ease of use offered by PCs and the Internet is great for consumers, they're also contributing to even higher malware threat levels than we experience in 2007 – itself a record-breaker.

Chris van Niekerk, regional director: Africa at McAfee, recommends that users should follow the security tips below to ensure that their new PC or laptop stays safe:
He recommends that users make use of layers of protection to stay secure. Recent research has shown that over one in seven consumers don’t have the basic protections in place, such as an enabled firewall, anti-virus software and anti-spyware features.  This leaves them vulnerable to a range of threats including, spyware, adware, hackers, phishing scams and identity theft.
McAfee recommends multiple layers of security:
* Anti-spyware to scan downloads and sites for software that can track your online activities, typing or even what appears on your screen;
* Anti-spam to block unwanted e-mails;
* Anti-virus protection to scan for malicious files that can damage your PC or laptop;
* Anti-phishing tools to identify fraudulent e-mails and links that trick you into giving away your private information; and
* An active Firewall to prevent hackers from gaining access to your PC or laptop.
It is also recommended that users stay up-to-date. New threats emerge daily, so consumers should look for software that updates and upgrades automatically.  At the same time, they should check for software fixes and patches from other vendors, like Microsoft Windows updates.
Consumers should make sure websites are safe before they visit them. A recent survey showed that 98% of consumers believe it’s important to know the risk level of a site before visiting it, however, 64% said they didn’t know how to do that.
Consumers should also look for a trustmark, such as hacker safe, on the home page of shopping sites.  This lets consumers know that the site has been tested for security risks and is safe to use.