It is very embarassing to have your email account hacked. Those you send emails to can become targets themselves, sometimes needing to pay to get their own computers repaired after they have been infected with malware, originating from you! Any computer I set up or re-install, I strive to make as secure as possible but, I am always happy to give on advice computer security. I would really prefer to not profit from the efforts of cyber criminals but, I don't see that changing any time soon.
To avoid this it is vital to be avoid clicking on links to websites or opening files attached to emails that you have received. Even if the email has been sent to you from family or close friends, you should never open files attached to an email or click on a website link, unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. If in doubt, send another email to the person who sent you the suspect email, just to make sure that it really was from them. Cyber criminals are getting so clever at making their malware infected emails look authentic and as if they are from people that you know, that it is better to assume the worst, most of the time.
2) Installing Software From The Internet
Unless you really need to, don't install any additional software that you have found on websites. The majority of free software is infected with malware. Even software you know is safe and have used before can be doctored by cyber criminals to spread malware. Unless you know the correct website to go to AND you know the software you are downloading is definitely safe, then don't.
Malware spread by this method includes some of the worst that your computer can potentially becoming infected with including ransomware (where you lose access to your own files and have to pay to get them back) and keylogging malware designed to capture your personal information (user names, passwords, credit card information etc.).
3) Use A Standard Level User Account
It is advisable to set up a separate Windows admin account on your computer with a good strong password. Your normal Windows user account that you normally use can then be' demoted' to 'Standard'. This is one of the best ways to protect your computer from malware as malware is just a type of software that needs to install itself on your computer to do any harm. If it gets on your computer and you are using a 'standard' level user account, it won't be able to install without asking for the admin password. As long as you don't type it in, you should be safe.
4) 'Browsing' The Internet Is A Risky Business
If you find yourself just clicking from one website to another because you are a bit bored, then this is very risky behaviour, on todays internet. I have heard the internet today described as 'the wild west'. It is bit similar to wandering around rough areas of a city that you don't know. You might not actually get mugged using the internet but, your computer might well be!