When Matt Ferranto opened an e-mail recently, it looked innocent enough. It wasn't. It had a virus in it.
"Immediately something happened to the computer. Systems began going down," Ferranto said.
Consumer Reports' Dean Gallea just tested 25 different software programs that promise to protect computers from viruses and other threats. Some just target one threat.
Others, called "suites" offer a combination of solutions to protect computers from spyware, spam, and viruses.
It helps if you know what the code of a computer virus looks like.
"This is what a good antivirus program looks like when it's attacking the virus," said Gallea.
Then you just click "delete."
"And now it's gone," said Gallea.
Artificial viruses were created by an outside lab. Consumers Reports' testers took special care to make sure the viruses only infected the test computers.
The test viruses and the computers they were on were kept under lock and key.