1 in 6 PCs have zero protection – McAfee study

31 May 2012

Seventeen per cent of the world’s personal computers aren’t protected against computer viruses, a global study suggests.

In a study that analysed data from voluntary scans from an average of 27-28m computers per month, security technology company McAfee researchers found 17pc of the world is browsing the internet completely unprotected.

Twenty-four countries took part in the study. In Ireland, 10.55pc of consumer PCs are completely unprotected, landing the country in 10th place on the Country Ranking of Consumers Without Any Security Software Installed list, which is included in the study.

Globally, Finland ranked first as the most protected, with only 9.7pc of PCs lacking any security protection, and Singapore ranked last, with 21.75pc of consumer PCs completely unprotected.

Ireland comes in at No 15, tied with Korea, in the list of most-protected consumers, with 82.42pc of PCs having basic security protection.

The research also discovered that many of the scanned computers have disabled or expired software, with Ireland in eighth place at 17.57pc.

Spain had the highest percentage of PCs without any installed basic security protection at 16.33pc, and Singapore had the highest percentage of users, 11.75pc, with installed, but disabled, security protection.

Consequences of no security

“The freedom to browse the internet comes with the added risk of unwanted exposure, and cyber-criminals are preying on unsuspecting victims,” says Steve Petracca, SVP and GM of consumer, small business and mobile at McAfee.

“With the increasing number of global cyber attacks affecting consumers, it is critical that the 17pc of consumers that are unprotected update their virus protection before it’s too late.”

A virus infection isn’t the only risk that comes with browsing the internet without protection. It also heightens the risk for identity theft and data loss, as well as contributes to the spread of viruses and harmful programmes.

Consumers globally say 27pc of their digital files would be “impossible to restore” at all if lost and not backed up properly, and had an average value of US$10,014.

McAfee says that even if consumers think their PC has basic protection installed, it’s important to ensure that security software remains updated.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic