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New and Need some suggestions

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http://www.linuxquestions.org – I'm dumping cruddy windows 8, and Have read up a bit online about security. There seems to be 2 conflicting arguments: "Linux is not prone to any of the viruses that plague windows" and "Linux is prone to rootkits..etc.." So I need to know: for just a replacement OS, what are the absolute necessary Security precautions I need to put in place? So far: - Firewall - password... What else do I need? I will be accessing public wifi, so I want to be prepared (my firewall blocks all incoming...). Thanks for your help!! (HowTos)