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Here's how to protect your computer from dangerous viruses

This week HBO revealed it had been the victim of a cyberattack compromising proprietary information. Earlier this year, a worldwide cyberattack hit more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries, threatening to delete peoples' files unless they paid hackers a ransom.

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Would you know if there was a virus hidden inside your computer? "Most of the time [when] people install programs, they don't even realize but they come with a lot of other programs that are spying on you, that are monitoring your activities," said Yoav Erez, owner of SpeedGeek, a reputable computer care company. "You can also get it from emails, clicking on a link that you don't know."

Working with Rossen Reports, a group of volunteers handed their computers over to SpeedGeek for a free system scan. The results were revealing: "We found malware on basically half of the computers you brought us," Erez told TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen.

To avoid malware and viruses on your computer, follow these tips:

  • Never click on pop-up ads.
  • Never open email attachments from people you don't know.
  • Back up all your files on an external drive.

And if you actually want to check whether your computer has any kind of malware on it, you can download free antivirus software online. Our expert recommends these:

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Jeff Rossen shows how to update your computer's operating system

Play Video - 1:10

Jeff Rossen shows how to update your computer's operating system

Play Video - 1:10

You should also always make sure to install updates to your computer's operating system: Often they protect you from getting viruses in the first place. Above, Rossen demonstrates step by step how to do it.

To suggest a topic for an upcoming investigation, visit the Rossen Reports Facebook page.

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