Not sure why I didn't bother to write about this, I will keep it short as possible because I am pressed for time.
When it comes to basic protection, it basically means having some sort of protection against malware and other nasty programs, however keep in mind, if you act like someone who is an idiot and click on anything that blinks, then you will get messed up, regardless of whatever protection you use.
So, the first layer of protection that I recommend is, CS 2015 (or whatever current year it is or will be).
CS stands for Common Sense, now in order to use Common Sense you first need to develop it, here are few simple steps to ensure your CS interface works without problems.
Never download software from shady websites.
Never use Keygen, Cracks, Patches unless others have tried it and you know the website you got it from isn't going to harm you (Hint, private tracker do a good job of screening people)
Also, check the website URL and the SSL sign when logging into banks, mail and any social account.
Always, use different password for different websites.
Always, use a reset e-mail account which you don't use anywhere and isn't linked to you, also make sure it's gmail or any A grade mailing service, don't use your domain e-mails.
Always, update your system, if you're on Windows you should check your Windows Update, this pretty much goes for all software's and if you're running a website/server, double check for security alerts.
Phishing and fake e-mails are you're biggest concern, make sure you client can scan for phishing or at least shows e-mail headers.
Also, make sure NEVER EVER TO CLICK ON ANY PASSWORD RESET OR E-MAIL from HOTMAIL/GMAIL etc, if they say your account is being blocked etc, just to to their website and login from there, never ever open the link.
Also, when it comes to Attachments, don't be a prick. If it's Zip and has an exe or html page etc, don't open it. Basically avoid opening attachments unless you know the person for real.
Internet as a whole is after you, this is true, so watch where you visit and use secure browsers. I personally use all the browsers that are currently available and I go back and forth between them.
Pick one browser such as Firefox and keep that one your main browser, open shady links on another browser such as Chrome with few addons, so you know it will not mess up things.
Don't run as root/administrator user unless necessary. Setup separate user only accounts. (via wolfy999)
Checking for open ports on firewall/router is also a good idea especially on older hardware from cable companies.(via wolfy999)
Enable Router/Modem Firewall, and use Virtual Ports for Port Forwarding, read up on port forwarding btw, you can use UPNP but it tends to expose you in a bad way.
Ah, the list can go on, honestly it will go on. It's just that long.
Regarding Software Tools Kits:
Here are some of the tools and protection software's I use to keep my system safe.Free Downloads/Install: [That I use]
MalwareBytes (Free version)
Bitdefender (Internet Security, Free one works as well, I got the IS free btw) [You can use Avira, Avast etc, whatever doesn't kill your system]
Sandboxie (for opening keygens)
Winpatrol (Alerts you if some services are being changed or some program is trying to do something)
EMT (Enchanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit 4.1)
Filehippo.com Update Checker (Checks for the newest releases)Windows Tools:
Msconfig (Check for start up)
Services.msc (Disable services)
Windows Firewall Policies (Deny and allow traffic, helpful when dealing with some cracked software)
host file edit (adding blocked websites) DOWNLOAD MY HOSTFILE HERE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/60qhpzg8obc9hp1/hostfile.txt?dl=0Network Tool
SP1/Firewall : On Modem or Router
I mean you can use a Firewall, personally I would love to use PSsense (boner) but I just control whatever is running.