Couldn't disagree more, jwenting.
Now I'm not going to get into 'value judgements' here about what people do on the internet. The simple fact is that 'seedy' areas of the internet exist, and people frequent them. In that regard, the internet is no different to any other facet of human activity. All I'm concerned about is the extent to which the existence of those 'seedy' environs impacts on me!
I'm also not 'buying' the claim, that " Problem is that most people don't set up their browser correctly". I've just had this discussion elsewhere, on a different topic, where a professional PC technician was attacking my colleagues and myself for freely offering people hardware advice and assistance. "Ordinary people don't service and tune up their cars", he claimed, "and ordinary people shouldn't be servicing and tuning up their PCs." He was wrong to assume that nobody should have the right to perform the work themselves, but he was perfectly correct to state that most people don't do so! The same is true for browser configuration. Let's face it. Most people fire up the system and simply use it, and they have a right to expect that they should be able to do so. I don't accept the claim that people who do so are 'irresponsible'.
Windows is NOT a secure Operating System in the way some other OS's can be. Some of the fundamental concepts underlying the way Windows works makes this so. Applications are allowed to acess the Windows Registry, and thus alter some of the ways the Operating System itself works. When that application is, in the manner of Internet Explorer, allowed to integrate with the core of Windows itself, and alter key Operating System files, then we have a nightmareish situation. Some other web browsers, such as Firefox for example, are 'bolt-on' applications, which operate largely in isolation from the core of the OS. The difference is like comparing a person who transports a dangerous animal in a crate on the back of a utility vehicle, with one who transports that dangerous animal in the cab with them!
When you view a website you download code onto your system. If 'hidden' within that code is some which is malicious in nature, you want to be damn sure that it's kept isolated from the innermost workings of your machine. Nowadays, such 'hidden' code can be so sophisticated that it is triggered off by the fact that you've displayed a single pixel in an image on a web page!
Most of the 'net nasties' are advertising related, and this, zeroth, might go some way to explaining why your wife's system attracts more 'nasties' than yours. Her computing habits are doubtless different to yours, and they may expose her to more risk of infection than you experience. An advertisement might spark her curiousity, a 'close' button on an advertising box may be something else in disguise. There will definitely be differences in the places you visit and the way you interact with them.
So, how does this all affect me? Quite simply, the more prolific such rubbish is, the more careful I need to be myself, and the more time I need to spend on the problem. The more 'nasties' which are spread, and their increased sophistication, puts me at an ever increasing risk. And the more people who have systems which are a major invitation for such things, the more traffic there is in them. That slows down the whole blasted internet. That means that advertising borne intruders start to creep onto even the most careful of websites. Simply put, it acts to magnify the problem. Have a look at the traffic you see in our 'Viruses and Spyware' forum section, and on other sites around the internet. The vast majority of those problems are experienced by Internet Explorer users!
No, the answer is not to blame the person at the keyboard. They are simply working their computer. The answer is to encourage people to use the most secure products available. If, like yourself, someone has computing habits which do not result in intrusions, then fine. But for everyone else, and that is by far the vast majority of users, the answer is to use the most secure product available, and Internet Explorer is not it!
Change browsers, people, and do it NOW!
In the course of my employment I come across lots of people who use their machines for lots of purposes. Sometimes my work necessitates that I visit those 'seedy environs' myself, and to intentionally expose a system to their ravages. I can only conclude from my experiences though, that no matter WHAT a persons internet activity is, those people who use Firefox or similar are at much less risk than those who use Internet Explorer.