The Internet or the whole computer world isn't like it used to be. The step to start using computers is too high, a beginner may get the computer immediately crashing and sending masses of ad emails (called SPAM) without even knowing this. 2 seconds of unprotected Internet connection is enough to get a modern virus, and that time isn't enough to turn on protection. Before plugging a computer to the Internet, everything must be set ready. Even if don't want to protect yourself, consider it for the others. Every computer taken off from the zombie-computer chain used to bomb us with SPAM and such, decreases the unwanted traffic on the Internet. Here I've listed 3 types of software you should have, or at least consider owning. The lists of software I have are based on my experience and are far from a complete list!
Personally I ask why? Why do some people do things like viruses or hacking in to someone else's property? These people are obviously skilled in the art of computers, why don't they use their gifts by doing something that benefits the mankind? It's nice that the computers do develop towards becoming faster than ever, because we need the increased power to keep the shielding up. Hell, I bet with the processor time all computers took to protect themselves (and you), we could have made calculations that would have made cancer look like a autumn cold and run simulations how to turn deserts into a thriving farm lands... I just don't get it.
Remember to keep your protective software up-to-date, including your operating system (Windows Update, for Windows)! And to find the software listed try Google, the links may get old.