The Internet presents many opportunities for con-artists and fraudsters. Internet security experts Message Labs have been examining the threats over the years.

Nasty little programs that can wreck your system or take control of your computer, viruses are still a growing threat.

In 2004, one in 16 e-mails was infected – that is 6%. The biggest offender of the year was the MyDoom “A” virus. Other variations of the virus also appeared.

This, like a lot of malware, opens a backdoor in your computer system, allowing any program to be downloaded and run on your machine.

Are also seeing a shift in the motives of viruses writers? Some are now being seduced by dirty money, are trying to take control of your PC and sell its resources to organised crime, or raise funds for terrorism and drug money.

The usual advice stands

Scan your machine once a week for anything suspicious. Keep your antivirus up to date, and avoid downloading and installing anything that is suspicious.