Sensitive data such as banking passwords and e-mail addresses could unwittingly be handed over to criminals as a result of visiting infected pages, which work by exploiting a vulnerability in the user's Internet browser, a study by Google researchers suggests.
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What exactly is a computer virus, Kaspersky labs explains here.
A Free virus protection option is Microsofts security essentials. Found here
Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.