Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat report is out, and to no one's surprise, things aren't nearly as safe out there as they should be.

Culling information from Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) customers as well as from 20,000 "DeepSight Threat Management System" sensors worldwide, the report shows not only an increase in threats and attacks, but also faster-spreading damage. The Slammer and Blaster worms that exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows operating systems, for example, spread over the globe in just a few hours.

The situation should concern e-commerce companies and their investors. Nobody really knows the sort of damage a successful attack might inflict on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) or (NASDAQ:AMZN), for example.

Here are some of the steps Symantec says you should take to protect your computer:

  • Keep operating software patched and updated.

  • Change passwords frequently.

  • Be wary of email attachments with .vbs, .bat, .pif, .exe, and .scr extensions.

  • Don't open attachments you weren't expecting.

Also, a good anti-virus program is a must, as is firewall software -- especially for computers that remain on and connected to the Internet.